For various reasons I’ve decided to move my base of operations to Port Alberni. If all goes well some time in the next two weeks (but, if history is any teacher, expect delays) I’ll be flying my flag at both Tyee Landing (at Centennial Pier, administered by Port Alberni Port Authority) and West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni.
The initial plan is to open as follows:
- Tuesday, Wednesday: Tyee Landing
- Thursday: West Coast General Hospital
- Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Tyee Landing
That’s just for starters. I’ve already been asked to attend other locations on a regular basis as well, so the schedule will evolve over time. I may even open 7 days a week during the summer at least, depending on demand.
That said, I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be able to start as my Port Alberni business license is still being processed. Should be “soon” though.
There are several reasons for this move. I’ll just list two inter-related reasons.
- Nanaimo has a de-facto classification of food trucks as “restaurants”, and requires that any commercial property that gives permission for a food truck must also be zoned for restaurants. Since one of the main reasons to HAVE a food truck in an area is because there are no restaurants, probably because it’s not zoned for them, this limitation defeats what I see as one of the main advantages of food trucks.
- I feel that food trailers like mine aren’t really welcome in Nanaimo. In areas where people are working (industrial, several commercial zones, and downtown) there are some food truck slots on the streets. However, I’m not allowed to use those slots because I have a trailer, and I need to detach it from the truck to level it. This is not allowed on Nanaimo city streets. Nor can I use private property in many of the industrial areas due to the restaurant zoning requirement. In the commercial areas that are zoned for restaurants, there are often a few restaurants already there, and I’m not allowed to operate close to them assuming I could find a private property owner to let me since I can’t use the designated food truck slots. So, partly because I have a trailer rather than a truck, it doesn’t seem that I can operate in most of the areas of Nanaimo where there are people on weekdays. If I ever expand and get an actual food TRUCK, I’ll revisit this decision.
The staff in Nanaimo have been friendly and helpful, but that can’t overcome the limitations placed on food trucks/trailers. I’m not a politician or lobbyist. Quite frankly I suck at it. I’m terrible at attempting to convince bureaucracies to change rules. All I can do is move my business to some place that already has rules in place that I can live with. Which is why I started looking at alternatives in neighbouring jurisdictions.
Once I started investigating possibilities, several organizations in Port Alberni expressed high levels of interest in what I have to offer. Since my spouse now works in Port Alberni we’ll be able to commute together so costs aren’t significantly increased. The lack of any “restaurant zoning” restrictions and the high level of official interest from several organizations all made the opportunity to move the business to Port Alberni very attractive.
So I did.