Move that food truck on up to Summerside

Published on May 14, 2014

If Charlottetown isn’t interested in accommodating food trucks or trailers, as far we’re concerned they’re welcome to come to Summerside.

The capital city’s council recently declined to grant permits to two mobile kitchens who’d been hoping to set up shop in the downtown core.

Well, if Charlottetown doesn’t want them perhaps hungry Summersidians should consider extending an invitation for them to do business in the western capital.

The reasoning for denying these licences, TC Media reports, is that the applicants, who are well-respected Island business people, wanted to set up on private property.

Heavens forbid.

That city’s newly revamped street vendor bylaw apparently (we couldn’t find an updated copy online to get the exact wording) states that mobile kitchens need to set up in public parking spaces, as well as pay the usual fees, before they can be granted a licence by council.

They say this is to help control these increasingly popular mobile eating establishments and make sure they’re appropriate for the area the owner wants to set up in.

Meanwhile, Summerside revamped its mobile vendor bylaw last year.

Our rules are not as restrictive but essentially accomplish the same goals.

Summerside’s bylaw says food trucks can operate on private property, as long as they have written permission from the owner to do so.

Applicants are licensed to operate at two locations, and more if approved by council.

A licence must be renewed annually, but there’s talk of extending that to once every three years.

Any business that owns property in the city can have a mobile vending licence for $500 and anyone who doesn’t own property here (thus not paying taxes) must pony up $1,000.

Council has final right of approval on all licences, so if there’s an idea being floated that doesn’t match with the city’s aesthetic or that’s in a problematic area, it can be turned down.

So as long as these Charlottetown-born food trucks don’t mind paying extra for the privilege of setting up here, they’re welcome.

Long-term, Summerside should potentially look at increasing the fee for non-resident food trucks setting up in the city, that would help level the playing field between them and traditional restaurants who pay no small amount in various taxes.

But in the meantime, Summerside’s open for business.

That’s capitalism at its finest.