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City abruptly changes food truck permitting system

Here's how much food trucks have paid to lease city-owned spots.


City staff has abruptly changed the way permits food trucks. Until now, all food trucks operating on city-owned property had bid on specific spots via a tender that was offered five years ago.

There were five allotted locations, and food truck owners competed for the spaces. The owners spent a significant amount on the spaces. Yousef Musleh got his spot on Grafton Street, by the library, for $25,000 over the five-year contract, but just around the corner, Andrew Rafalski’s got a spot on Spring Garden Road for his fish and chip truck for just $4,750 for five years. A Burnside spot brought in $15,000 for five yeas. Nomads Gourmet’s space on Argyle Street near City Hall went for $7,850 over the five years, but Under Pressers snatched a nearby spot, on Argyle near Carmichael, for a mere $915 for one year.

The city had re-issued a tender earlier this year for the spots, but in expectation of a change in the bylaws regulating food trucks, Friday CAO Richard Butts killed the tender. Instead, the city issued a one-year permit for each spot, on a first-come basis, for $900. The lower permit fees will be easier on the truck owners, but it’ll be interesting to see if the first-come issuance of permits changes the locations of the trucks.

Food trucks operating on private property are not covered by the city permits. So long as the trucks meet provincial health and business regulations, the owners can make whatever agreements they can negotiate with property owners.

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