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Sylvan Lake may drop Food Truck Thursdays

Vendors said 2022 was not a profitable year and asked town to make regulations more flexible

Sylvan Lake’s Food Truck Thursdays may be dropped this summer.

Removing the culinary attraction that had been running since 2016 was one of the recommendations that came out of a town staff review of the Mobile Vending and Busking Bylaw, and from feedback from mobile vendors.

“A number of food trucks did not survive the pandemic and the ones that did were faced with a number of challenges such as fuel costs, supply chain issues and increased cost of goods,” says a report to town council.

“It has been communicated to administration that 2022 was not profitable for food truck vendors and the vendors are requesting to see significant changes,” wrote Monique Pummings, town director of recreation, culture, tourism and economic development.

“Additionally, Food Truck Thursday did not see the uptake from food truck operators due to other Thursday programming in neighbouring communities.”

Besides dropping the event, it is also recommended that rules restricting mobile vendors to specific zones be removed from the bylaw. That would open up other locations, such as Lakefront Park, Centennial Park and Lions Park.

“Removing the specific zones will allow for more flexibility and creative business ideas,” says the report.

Before approving a mobile vendor, town staff will consider space requirements, noise and the ability to load and unload at the location.

Also proposed is a requirement mobile vendors operate for at least 90 days during the duration of the permit.

“The 90-day requirement is very difficult for businesses when the weather is poor.”

Another change would see potted plants, potted flowers and trees added to the flower/plant vendor category.

To provide support for vendors, it has been proposed a Tourism Experience Development Incubator program be rolled out.

“This would be a business development program meant to help vendors test their proof of concept and support them in eventually setting up permanent businesses elsewhere in town.”

Town council gave the updated mobile vending and buskng bylaw first reading last Monday. It will come back to council on March 27.

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