Moncton narrowly approves mobile food vendor plan

Moncton scaled back a proposal to allow food carts and food trucks downtown this summer after complaints were raised by the owner of a Subway restaurant.

City will allow 3 food trucks, 2 food carts on downtown streets this summer

Moncton will allow three food trucks and two food carts this summer.

Moncton scaled back a proposal to allow food carts and food trucks downtown this summer after complaints were raised by a local restaurant owner.

Councillors were discussing a pilot project to allow six food trucks and five food carts to be allowed in the downtown this summer.

Instead, the council approved only three food trucks and two food carts this summer. The vote passed council by a single vote.

Coun. Daniel Bourgeois questioned the need to allow mobile food vendors in Moncton's downtown this summer. (CBC)
City staff argued that most other Canadian cities allow mobile food vendors to operate during the summer months.

However, the pilot project ran into opposition from councillors and restaurant owners.

But Todd Marsh, the owner of the Subway restaurant on Main Street, said he doesn't like the competition from these food vendors.

"I've got big property taxes, I've got big water bills," he said.

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc and two other councillors were concerned about unfair competition for established restaurants.

Coun. Daniel Bourgeois said other restaurant owners have told him privately they are also upset about the potential for mobile vendors to cut into their profits.

"Why are we doing this, what's the problem, what are we trying to fix?" Bourgeois asked.

The majority of councillors backed a proposal to allow mobile food vendors.

'Success builds success'

Coun. Dawn Arnold said allowing vendors to sell hot dogs or gourmet food from carts or trucks has worked well in almost every other city where it has been tried.

Coun. Dawn Arnold said the addition of mobile food vendors this summer would attract more people downtown. (CBC)
She said the pilot project will prohibit the mobile vendors from setting up next to an already established restaurant.

The councillor also discounted the fears of those who think the mobile food vendors would hurt existing businesses.

"I think that success builds success," she said.

"I also talked to a lot of restaurateurs in the downtown area and they were — all that I talked to — extremely positive about this."

Arnold said she believes the added competition will help all businesses grow and attract more people to Moncton’s downtown.

"Someone has just mentioned the size of the pie, I think the pie gets a lot bigger. The pie doesn't stay the same size," the councillor said.

“The more people that come downtown looking for interesting things, for interesting food opportunities, the better. I think it helps everyone, it creates a vibrant downtown.”

Saint John also wrestled with the issue of allowing downtown food vendors last year.

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