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Better eating in city parks to be tested

Street vendors could soon be giving Vancouver park concession operators a run for their money.

Vancouver park board officials will vote tonight on whether to approve a pilot project that would see food carts allowed in three high-traffic locations: the information booth in Stanley Park; the top of Queen Elizabeth Park in the Bloedel Conservatory/Seasons in The Park area and Vanier Park next to Burrard Marina.

The idea is to generate revenue for the park board while providing healthier, locally grown food as an alternative to the hotdogs and fried foods that have been staples in city’s parks, said board chairwoman Constance Barnes.

If the one-year pilot project is a success, she would like to see food carts in the fields where children and adults play soccer, softball or other sports.

“This about providing a better service and adding on to what we already have,” Barnes said, noting the park board will talk to the city about its street vendor program.

“Times are changing. We’ll never get rid of the fish and chips … but I think there has to be more than hotdogs and fried foods. We need to make sure we’re tying in healthy active living with good, affordable healthy foods.”

The City of Vancouver started its street food pro-gram in 2008 and expanded it in June 2010 with a focus on culturally diverse, healthy food choices.