Food truck laws under spotlight
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’’.
The Manawatu¯ District Council is reviewing its Public Street Use bylaw after complaints about food trucks.