The City of Vernon is encouraging more applications for mobile vending, such as the Grub Truck. (Morning Star file photo)

The City of Vernon is encouraging more applications for mobile vending, such as the Grub Truck. (Morning Star file photo)

City of Vernon encourages mobile vending applications

City of Vernon taking applications for mobile vendors to set up in city parks for the 2018 season

More mobile vendors are being encouraged to set up in Vernon parks this summer.

City council supported an interim approach of leasing mobile vending spots in parks on a case-by-case basis for 2018. A formal update to mobile vending procedures is expected for 2019.

“Previously, parks fell under the jurisdiction of the Regional District of North Okanagan and as such, no established policy or bylaw existed for the city to facilitate mobile vending in parks,” said city planner Cleo Corbett in a report to council. “Polson Park, Kin Beach and Marshall Field are expected to be of interest to vendors for food services and recreation and tourism-related rentals, namely water sports and cycling.”

The Okanagan Landing Community Association owns the majority of Paddlewheel Park and facilitates mobile vending on their lands. The city owns six properties on the west side of the park and may have interest from mobile vendors on those lands.

“Given the amount of annual inquiries for mobile vending, anticipated demand for these properties is expected to be minimal,” said Corbett.

The process of leasing spots through a contract will ensure all vendors have the required insurance and health and fire-related approvals to operate on public property. Products and services being proposed and the quality of presentation will be assessed to ensure vendors add value to parks and public spaces and do not detract from them.

The number of vendors at each park would be limited to a maximum of two. Vendors need to be mobile, vacating the space each day.

The Grub Truck has leased the pad space outside the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives on certain days throughout the 2018 season. The Buddha Belly food truck has leased a parking stall at the Apple parking lot adjacent to the Transit Terminus and alternates to the pad space by the museum on available days.

The cost of these spots, including electricity, is $25 per day.

The administration is proposing that food vendors would be charged $20 per day at park locations, $5 less than the fee currently used for city-owned properties in the city centre.

“This generally reflects a lower level of expected traffic and readily accessible electricity,” said Corbett.

Recreation-related rentals would be charged a per rental rate to reflect sales at a fee of $2 per rental.

Existing policies in the City Centre Neighbourhood Plan and the Parks Master Plan support mobile vending as a way of adding vibrancy to public spaces.

“Mobile vending can make places safer by attracting more users to an area,” said Corbett. “Results and feedback on mobile vending in 2018 will be monitored to help update the permitting process for 2019.”

Mobile vending demand is expected to continue to grow in Vernon and vending spots are being designed into some new parks and parking lots as a way of offering services to the public without significant bricks and mortar investment.

Interested vendors are asked to contact City of Vernon Building and Licensing department at 250-550-3634 for more information.

Vernon Morning Star