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More leeway for food trucks as Wellesley approves new bylaw

More leeway for food trucks as Wellesley approves new bylaw

Mobile food vendors wishing to set up shop in Wellesley Township will have an official set of regulations to follow as of Apr. 1 as township councillors meeting Tuesday night approved the final draft of a new bylaw.

A public meeting held in June regarding the proposed bylaw was well attended by residents in support of the Odd Duck food truck which had opened on Queen’s Bush Road and started the conversation around mobile food vendors in the township. Other residents had concerns and questions. The revised bylaw attempts to address those concerns.

Municipal clerk Grace Kosch outlined the comments from the community that had been considered in drafting the bylaw.

“Organized farmers’ market vendors will be exempt from the proposed provisions of this bylaw,” Kosch said, noting refreshment vehicles operating in conjunction with a special event are also exempt, providing the organizer of the event applies for a special event permit.

Coun. Herb Neher relayed some questions regarding this exemption he heard from residents.

“I’ve had a couple of calls from residents. They’re wondering where this market started, who gets paid, where does the money go, can anybody go there [and sell]?” Neher said.

Recreation director Brad Voisin told him a couple people approached the township a few years ago looking to rent the picnic shelter at the Wellesley arena to run a Saturday morning farmers’ market to promote local food.

They pay a rental fee for the season that covers the maintenance of the picnic shelter space. Neher asked if the organizer makes money off the venture and Voisin explained it would be the same as paying to rent the arena for a craft sale. They’d expect the organizer to make some profit from it.

Refreshment vehicles will be allowed to operate on township land, which was prohibited in the previous draft of the bylaw. Another provision staff removed was the 20-metre buffer around parkland. Refreshment vehicles will be allowed to operate in township parks and facilities during special events after receiving a special event permit.

The previous draft also included a maximum of two licenses per settlement area, which has been removed.

The existing refreshment vehicles are required to comply with all regulations and requirements of the bylaw, which would include the Odd Duck in Wellesley Village.

“Local competition, the guidelines that have been suggested in the proposed bylaw, 6.5, offer a buffer from brick and mortar restaurants so that there is a respect for competition, while also ensuring their rights are not infringed upon,” Kosch said.

Refreshment vehicles will be required to adhere to township and region bylaws and regulations, as well as all laws.

The licensing fee per day for food trucks and food carts will be $50. The annual fee for food trucks will be $750, or $300 for food carts.

The report includes maps of where mobile food vendors will be permitted in each of the settlement areas. They will be permitted to operate in commercial and industrial zones which are not within 90 metres of a restaurant.

A mobile food vending operation includes a mobile lunch truck, a refreshment vehicle, a food truck and a food cart. They also will not be permitted within 100 meters of elementary or secondary schools, or on private property without written consent. No food truck will be allowed within 90 metres of another food truck and no food cart will be allowed within 45 metres of a food truck.

As this was a committee meeting, council will give its official stamp of approval on the bylaw at their next council meeting.

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