By Steve Hubrecht
As the Pioneer went to press earlier this week, Radium Hot Springs was a step closer to amending its business licence bylaw to allow mobile vendors such as food trucks to legally operate in the village.
During a special council meeting last week, on July 6, Radium council gave second and third readings to those amendments. The matter was on the agenda for potential adoption at the village’s regular council meeting on July 13, after the Pioneer went to press but before it hit newsstands.
During the special council meeting, Radium mayor Clara Reinhardt said the amendments would allow food carts, stands, food truck and other mobile vendors to operate at Market on Main, which is Radium’s Friday night farmers’ market, and at the
Columbia Valley Classic Show and Shine car show in Radium each September. The event has already allowed such vendors for years.
“This has been on our radar for awhile,” Reinhardt said. “What we’re doing is really just legitimizing what is already happening.”
Another part of the proposed amendments will allow mobile vendors to operate on private property provided the private property is not zoned residential, the property gives permission and the vendor gets a business licence from the village.
The topic has generated some interest among Radium residents, including questions around the bylaw’s clarity and impact on brick and mortar restaurants.
Bighorn Cafe owner Carleen Campbell presented concerns. She suggested additional process should be implemented to set up as a mobile vendor and said clarity was needed around what types of public and private property can have food trucks. Campbell asked council to consider “the big picture.”
Reinhardt, however, said food trucks are “limited” in where they can operate and the proposed changes are clear.
Campbell also expressed concern that food trucks could compete with pre-existing brick-and-mortar businesses.
“It’s good to have diversity that adds to creating a food culture here,” she said. “But not if it hurts existing businesses.”
Coun. Todd Logan said it is not the job of the village to dictate what kinds of businesses can and cannot operate.
“That’s not our role as council,” Logan said. “If they follow the bylaw, follow the rules and get a business licence — they can operate.”
Reinhardt echoed those sentiments and pointed out that the village’s business licence bylaw will likely be revamped in the near future. She said the amendments may be refreshed at that time.
“This is something we’ve been asked about for a long time,” she said. “If it doesn’t work we can withdraw it or redo it.”
Wild Juniper Cafe food cart owner Pete Penakala asked how potential problems with mobile vendors operating on public property would be dealt with.
Radium chief administrative officer Adrian Berlges said Radium’s bylaw officer can close the operation, if need be.