Kitchener serves up softer approach to food truck rules

Kitchener council voted unanimously to adopt new fees and rules for food truck operators looking to do business in the city.

Annual licensing fee set at $350, rather than the $1947 initially proposed

Truck operators will now have to pay an annual fee of $350 for a licence in Kitchener. (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

Kitchener city council voted unanimously last night on changes to food truck rules, including a lower annual licence fee. This comes not long after Waterloo council also decided to loosen fees and regulations.

Council approved an annual licensing fee of $350 for truck operators. There's also an additional fee of $150 per truck which will go to the downtown business association to cover expenses such as marketing and logistics for certain special events. Truck operators can also take part in additional festivals for a cost of $100 per event.

If a truck does not have the annual $350 licence, it can take part in individual events or festivals for a cost of $250 per occasion.

Food trucks must be set up at least 20 metres from brick-and-mortar restaurants and 90 metres from schools, unless permission is granted to set up closer.

Andrea Kim, who owns the food truck West of Seoul with her husband, says the new rules are a big relief and she is looking forward to partnering with existing restaurants in Kitchener’s downtown core.

“With something like this, we’re able to work with them and really help make Kitchener a better place for everyone,” said Kim.

Councillor Berry Vrbanovic believes the new rules strike a fair balance and will help to improve Kitchener’s food culture. He adds the changes will last for one year and will undergo review once the term is up.

“As part of that review, we’ll be looking at all of our fees as well as seeing other ways of better aligning ourselves with other communities in the region,” said Vrbanovic.

In addition to the new fees, one to three food trucks will be allowed to operate on a daily basis near Centre in the Square. They will also be allowed to set up at the following parks:

  • McLennan Park
  • Victoria Park
  • Huron Natural Area​
  • Budd Park
  • Southwest Optimist Park
  • Huron Business Park

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