Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he supports revamping the city's food-truck rules, but blasted an exception in the proposal that would allow local business associations and councillors to request that trucks be banned from certain areas.
"I support it. I think food vending's very important," Mr. Ford told City Hall reporters on Tuesday afternoon. "I don't like how BIAs or councillors can bury it at any given time. That just kills it."
The mayor was referring to a city staff proposal that aims to make it easier for food trucks to set up across Toronto.
But an exception built into the proposal – which is set to go to the licensing and standards committee next week – would allow local councillors and business improvement associations to limit or ban trucks from certain areas altogether by creating "restricted zones."
If a vendor appeals the decision by the licensing committee director to restrict a certain zone, the final decision would rest with the local community council.
"I don't agree [it] having that councillors and BIAs can come over top," Mr. Ford said Tuesday. "To me, that just ruins it."
But mayoral rival John Tory said in a statement that he supports the exception.
"I believe there should be a unified approach to how food trucks are placed in the city. That means one rule, that is clear and allows businesses to operate across the city. However, I also understand that there are going to be exceptional circumstances where exceptions should be made."
He cited the city's entertainment district as one example where a local BIA or councillor may choose to create restrictions "to consider how food trucks will affect that neighbourhood as people leave venues at 2 a.m."
If passed by the licensing committee, the vending proposal would go to council early next month and be in place by Victoria Day weekend.
The changes would lift many of the restrictions currently placed on food trucks, and allow licensed trucks to freely roam and set up in "pay-and-display" spots as well as commercial parking lots. The proposal allows for up to two trucks per street, but would require them to stay at least 50 metres from "licensed eating establishments," and at least 30 metres from schools or places of worship.