Nova Scotia

Food truck permits 5 times more expensive this year

People in Nova Scotia's food service industry are speaking out after learning food truck permit fees are increasing five-fold.

'That's not the recipe for creating jobs and making small businesses grow'

The CBC's Colleen Jones enjoys her lunch at the Gecko Bus last summer. (Colleen Jones/CBC)

People in Nova Scotia's food service industry are speaking out after learning food truck permit fees are increasing five-fold. 

Luc Erjavec, vice-president of the Atlantic Canada division of the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association, says the increase hurts small business.

"We've had terrible weather, the economy's slow, we have among the highest taxes in Canada and here we go, jacking up the fees," he says.

"That's not the recipe for creating jobs and making small businesses grow and flourish in this province." 

Natalie Chavarie runs the Food Wolf. It's a food truck that operates during warmer weather.

She wants to know what she'll get, with the increase in the mobile permit going from $38 to $193.

"The big question that it raises is what's the rationalization for these fees and how are the services going to be enhanced or are the service delivery standards going to improve," she says.

Most of the 1,400 fee increases are in the three per cent range.

The Nova Scotia government says the hikes will bring in $7.7 million more to provincial coffers.

Mark Piper is one of the co-owners of the mobile food truck the Gecko Bus. 

"In a business with very thin margins and with a very small bottom line, any increase like this is going to be very detrimental in my opinion," he says.

Piper has worked in the food service industry for 36 years.

He says the increases food truck operators will have to pay next week will have a big impact on those new to the business.

"I think it really discourages young people from starting a business, which is frustrating because, right now, food trucks are a hot commodity," he says.

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