Morinville Council Approves Mobile Vendor Bylaw Easing Food Truck Operations

A group of food trucks were part of the recent Morinville Festival Days, one of the permitted instances under the new Mobile Vendor Bylaw, passed by Council on June 25. – file photo

by Colin Smith

The way has been eased for food trucks to set up in Morinville. At its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 25, Council approved the Mobile Vendor Bylaw.

This is the first town bylaw to address the operation of mobile vendors, in particular food trucks, whose numbers have increased in recent years.

Up to this point, food trucks have been subject to the same regulations as permanent business establishments, including a Land Use Bylaw requirement for a development permit whenever they set up.

The new bylaw sets out specific rules and regulations for mobile vendors intended to facilitate their operations in the town while limiting negative impact on local brick-and-mortar businesses.

An amendment to the Land Use Bylaw passed at the same time made mobile vendors exempt from the requirement for a development permit.

Mobile vendors will continue to require a Morinville business licence and now must fill in a one-page form on an online check-in portal.

Food trucks will by definition be allowed in three pre-approved public locations: the skate park, the baseball diamonds, and the splash park and outdoor rink area.

They can set up on private property if they have written authorization from the property owner, authorization that must be produced upon demand of a peace officer or development officer.

Vendors who want to park along the street will need to obtain a temporary road closure permit, which can be approved in “as little as 72 hours.”

Amendment of the Land Use Bylaw now allows food trucks to operate in residential areas, either on private land with landowner permission or parking along the street with a temporary road closure permit.

Food trucks would not be able to operate in the road right-of-ways along 100 Street and 100 Avenue. An exception would be if they are operating as part of a special event that has obtained a temporary road closure.

The proposed bylaw stipulates that if operating on town-owned land, mobile vendors must hold $2,000,000 in liability insurance and show proof of that upon request.

“Removing the requirement for the development permit will make it much easier for mobile vendors to come in to provide service in Morinville,” Economic Development Officer Stephen Novak told council.

“I think we’ve done a good balance of the ability to come here, at the same time maintaining that local businesses are important to us as well, so not stepping on their toes too much.”

Since the introduction of the draft bylaw some council members have been concerned that it is still too rigorous.

A review of the bylaw is required by March of next year, following passage of a motion at the May 28 council meeting.

During second reading of the bylaw at that meeting, Councillor Scott Richardson stated, “I worry that it’s too restrictive. I find this is going to be too cumbersome for people coming into town.”

Second reading of the bylaw was approved, with a vote of four to three. Mayor Simon Boersma and Councillors Jan Anheliger, Maurice St. Denis and Ray White were in favour and Councillors Rebecca Balanko, Stephen Dafoe and Scott Richardson opposed.

On Tuesday, June 25, Councillor Ray White moved third reading of the bylaw.

“There is some peace of mind for me in having the bylaw reviewed in March of next year to see how it worked and get some feedback from the operators of mobile vendors and just to see if there can be improvements to the bylaw.”

Said Mayor Simon Boersma, “Having the Chamber of Commerce on side was very important to me. Especially when local business is looking at it.”

The vote approving third reading of Mobile Vendor Bylaw was five to one, with Boersma and Anheliger, Balanko, St. Denis and White in favour and Councillor Stephen Dafoe opposed.

Once the bylaw was approved, councillors in attendance voted unanimously for passage of the amendment to the Land Use Bylaw.

Councillor Scott Richardson was not at the meeting due to a family emergency.





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