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Street Vendors given go-ahead, but banned from some core areas

Mobile food trucks will soon be permitted year-round in certain commercially designated areas of the city.

Cambridge council passed a motion Monday (June 23) directing the city clerk to prepare a bylaw to license them as part of a two-year pilot project.

Various conditions will prohibit food trucks from operating near intersections, within 30 metres of restaurants and 100 metres of schools, on local roads and highways, and on private property without the consent of the property owner.

A bylaw to authorize the two-year pilot project will also be drafted in such a way so that Business Improvement Area (BIA) boundaries in Galt and Hespeler are off-limits.

The Galt on the Grand BIA wants to protect its businesses, but also understands the food trucks have their own following which can bring patronage to downtown areas, said board chair Shane Murphy.

Murphy said the Galt BIA will be participating in the pilot program, but is currently working with the city to implement various restrictions.

“Our goal is to be able to protect the businesses in the core that may or could be affected by food trucks, while at the same time utilizing the service when needed,” reads a letter from Galt on the Grand BIA board treasurer Adam Cull, also the owner of Café 13.

“This program should be allowed the space within the City of Cambridge to test the idea and return with sales figures and numbers to gauge the draw of the project, while still maintaining a proper loyalty and respect for the existing businesses already operating within the downtown Cambridge, Galt BIA core.”

According to Coun. Rick Cowsill, the Hespeler BIA opted out of the pilot project due to the size of the village’s core area – a block and a half including several purveyors of food and drink that could be impacted by the presence of food trucks.

The Preston BIA will be participating in the pilot project.

“The checks and balances in this report that staff has done, I’m in full agreement with,” said Ward 3 Coun. Karl Kiefer.

Brad Schmuck approached council earlier this year about instituting a pilot program.

The owner of the Schmuck Truck said the pilot project is a step in the right direction, however, food truck operators will still have to review the bylaw restrictions to decide whether the proposed $264 licensing fee is worth it.

The bylaw is expected to come back to council for final approval next month.

“The timing is probably not the best,” Schmuck said. “I don’t know who’s going to get a licence, because by the time it’s all said and done it’s the end of July.”

Schmuck had hoped to set up shop in industrial areas around the city.

“There are many more properties that don’t have food out there and that’s what we want to do,” he said. “We’re not in the restaurant business.”