Cold Lake looks at Food Truck Policy

Regulating where mobile food businesses can operate discussed.

Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland says he would like to clarify a discussion City Council had recently on the food truck industry operating in the city and the possible development of a policy in regards to food trucks.

“There appears to be some misconceptions of what was said,” Mayor Copeland says first and foremost the City does not have any issues with food trucks operating in Cold Lake. “Council does not have a problem with food trucks.” The mayor says Council is looking at where food trucks should be located in the City of Cold Lake.

Mayor Copeland explains that the discussion was brought on by local business owners, not by any particular Councillor. “We had a couple of emails from the business community, primarily from businesses that cater to the faster food delivery service. Whether that’s drive-thru window or catering or delivery services. We didn’t have any concerns from any sit-down restaurants.” Mayor Copeland explains the emails came from established businesses in the city, that pay property taxes or lease permanent space. “We had concerns about the food trucks in the city and the fact that they don’t pay property taxes.”

An example to ponder is; should a food truck be able to set up next to a permanent restaurant that operates on the beach? Whereas the permanent business pays property taxes and the food trucks currently do not pay a permit fee. The food trucks can leave if the weather is poor and service other communities, whereas the permanent building is by (at the least) design committed to Cold Lake. Copeland asks, “the food trucks can pick and choose where they go and is it fair to existing businesses that pay property taxes or lease a space?”

Mayor Copeland notes the issue of interest was brought up, in the past week, since the discussion first came to the table. He would like to clarify that Councillor Bob Buckle, a restaurant owner, is not driving this discussion and the mayor does not feel he was in conflict of interest. “Sit down restaurants aren’t really going to be affected by food trucks,” the mayor clarifies, “[Councillor Buckle] was speaking on concerns that came to him.” Mayor Copeland explains that City Administration is very good at educating Council on conflict of interest and when there is a possible breach, “the City of Cold Lake reviews potential conflict issues and identifies that in our training as Councillors. Council has a good idea and a good understanding of what conflict is. He’s not in conflict on this issue.”

“We’re working on a permitting process as to where food trucks should be located.” In regards to food trucks setting up next to a permanent fast food restaurant, with a similar dining experience. Mayor Copeland asks, “should the food trucks be located right next door to a fast-food type business?” Copeland says that City Administration is going to work on some maps, “we’ll review the areas, north & south, and come up with some areas that we’re comfortable putting a food truck.”

“We want the food trucks to be there,” Mayor Copeland says the policy is intended to be much like the City of Edmonton has in regards to where the trucks can set up shop and whether or not there will be permits to operate. “By no means are we saying ‘no’ to food trucks,” assures the mayor.