Quebec City mayor relents on food trucks, but not until 2017
Régis Labeaume worried about impact on struggling restaurant business
Food trucks could become a reality on the streets of Quebec City.
Mayor Régis Labeaume has been firmly against bringing in food trucks to the city, saying he didn't think the population was interested.
But within the past week, opposition members have expressed their support for the idea. An online petition asking for food trucks to be legalized in Quebec City was also launched and has gathered more than 4,000 signatures.
By Monday night's city council meeting, the mayor's position had softened.
"We know that there is a clientele 35 and under that want food trucks. It's important for them," he said.
But Labeaume emphasized that he doesn't want the restaurant industry to suffer.
"For the 15,000 or 20,000 people who work in the industry, for the 700 [restaurants] that pay taxes, it was a hard year, a very hard year," he said.
The association representing Quebec restaurant owners — l'association des restaurateurs du Québec — said the province saw on average a 1.5 per cent reduction in business last year.
Labeaume said food trucks are not an urgent priority and would the city would consult various sectors while looking at a pilot project for the summer of 2017.
But the project is still taking too long according to some food truck owners.
Claude Lamarre, the owner of L'Epicurien mobile, said he doesn't understand why the city doesn't follow others that have already allowed food trucks in certain areas.
"My fear for the next year is that the pilot project will be shaky," Lamarre said, explaining that by delaying the start of the project, they won't truly have a strong food truck presence before 2018.
Granby and Drummondville have allowed food truck pilot projects. They have also had a successful run in Montreal.