Food truck laws un­der spot­light

Manawatu Standard - - NEWS - SAM KILMISTER

Tougher re­stric­tions could be im­posed on food trucks in Feild­ing as of­fi­cials seek so­lu­tions to con­cerns from restau­ra­teurs.

The Manawatu¯ District Coun­cil will review its Pub­lic Street Use by­law, which cur­rently al­lows mo­bile food trucks to park and trade in any pub­lic space around the district.

The lack of rules re­gard­ing food trucks has prompted con­cerns from hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness own­ers in the CBD, who say their stores are blocked when mo­bile eater­ies park near the front en­trance.

The rise in pop­u­lar­ity of a weekly food truck event at the Feild­ing Events Cen­tre on Fri­days has put the trucks un­der the spot­light af­ter some restau­ra­teurs raised con­cerns about the im­pact it was hav­ing on their busi­nesses.

But any by­law changes would not af­fect the Fri­day event, which was held on pri­vate prop­erty.

Mayor He­len Wor­boys said the review would take sev­eral months to com­plete. While the wheels were in mo­tion, it would in­clude pub­lic and in­dus­try en­gage­ment to en­sure ev­ery­one had the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide in­put.

Rec­om­men­da­tions for the new by­law were yet to be dis­cussed by coun­cil­lors, but the pub­lic would likely have three op­tions, Wor­boys said.

They would in­volve ban­ning food trucks from pub­lic spa­ces in the district, al­low­ing them to park in spe­cific lo­ca­tions or keep­ing the sta­tus quo.

‘‘We’ve said the sta­tus quo isn’t work­ing and it needs to be looked at,’’ Wor­boys said.

‘‘At the mo­ment [food trucks] are trendy. Peo­ple like them, but they’re hav­ing a detri­men­tal im­pact on some of our busi­nesses.’’

Wor­boys said some mo­bile units were tak­ing ad­van­tage of their pub­lic per­mits by set­ting up camp on the brick quad­rant of Manch­ester Square. In do­ing so, they were ef­fec­tively block­ing Prime Roast and Spring Patis­serie and Cafe, she said.

The re­viewed by­law would hope­fully al­low the coun­cil le­gal pow­ers to re­quest food trucks in di­rect com­pe­ti­tion with ex­ist­ing busi­nesses to move. ‘‘It’s some­thing coun­cil isn’t legally able to do right now,’’ Wor­boys said.

Prime Roast owner Kelly Cao said some food trucks had parked in front of their store on Fri­day and Satur­day nights.

She said many cus­tomers who vis­ited th­ese food trucks also used her store’s bath­room fa­cil­i­ties with­out pur­chas­ing any­thing.

‘‘It’s not fair for us to pay all the rates - be­cause it is very high,’’ Cao said. ‘‘It’s an­noy­ing be­cause we can’t just say ‘no, go away’. It’s not just us - there are other busi­nesses.’’

The Spring Patis­serie and Cafe man­ager, who asked not to be named, said they had ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar is­sues and that it was ‘‘not cool or fair’’.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

The Manawatu¯ District Coun­cil is re­view­ing its Pub­lic Street Use by­law af­ter com­plaints about food trucks.

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