Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop is asking officials to draw up new rules that could close a mobile food vendor that has set up in a town where change “is not a welcome word.”
The Funky Monkey Sandwich Stop is located at Cochrane’s Country Market in Rothesay and serves specialty soups and sandwiches to a growing customer base.
But town officials are trying to make bylaw changes that could see the end to the mobile food truck or impose new rules and regulations.
The town’s mayor said he is not worried about Rothesay missing out on the mobile food trend that is popular in many other places.
“You have to know Rothesay, it is not your regular community,” Bishop said.
“We people here have been here for decades and they have very firm beliefs, and needs and wants and the word change in Rothesay is not a welcome word.”
Bishop said he has nothing against Dan Landry, the Funky Monkey’s owner, but a mobile restaurant is “not the type of enterprise that we welcome in Rothesay.”
He has asked his staff to review bylaws that could restrict these businesses in the future.
The mayor said the only reason Landry’s mobile food truck was allowed to operate was because the town’s bylaws are silent on the issue.
Landry said he’s “disappointed” by how Rothesay’s mayor has reacted to his business.
He also said Bishop’s views of what types of businesses that Rothesay residents want in the town is outdated.
“We’ve had a great summer so far and the community is, very much so, coming out and supporting us. So we don’t have any fears of about whether the community wants us here,” he said.
One of the criticisms used by Bishop against mobile food vendors is that they do not pay taxes to the town.
But Landry pays rent to Cochrane’s Country Market so he can park his mobile restaurant on the site. He said he isn’t the only Rothesay business to rent space, instead of paying property tax, so he doesn’t feel that is a fair criticism.
The business owner also said he’s providing a niche service to people in the town.
“I think the people are looking for new food trends, I think the people are looking for new food options and they are looking for real food instead of processed food,” Landry said.
“I think that these small businesses give people the opportunity to get out there in the market and sell that product without having the costs involved with the brick and mortar investments.”
Mobile food vendors were approved this summer in Moncton, but the city has had limited interest by businesses that have been willing to start up.