Victoria places food trucks idea on back burner

Despite the potential to revitalize downtown, initiative to add food vendors well down city priority list

Ramesh Espinoza serves up tacos from his Puerto Vallerta Amigos food truck

Foodies holding out hope for more food trucks in the downtown core will soon have a bad taste in their mouths.

Streetside cuisine is decidedly off the agenda at City Hall, as councillors juggle portfolios ranging from the Johnson Street Bridge to naming rights for the Victoria Conference Centre.

“It just wasn’t seen as a priority by council,” said Coun. Lisa Helps, who has been advocating for licensed public space food trucks for more than a year. “Food carts can enhance the vibrancy of downtown, and goodness knows our downtown could use a dose of vibrancy these days.”

Grab-and-go food options in Vancouver and Calgary have exploded in the past three years, thanks to relaxed municipal licensing inspired by the infamous success of a downtown block of food carts in Portland, Ore.

But Victoria is failing to seize the opportunity of an easy-to-implement revitalization tool for the downtown core, said Ramesh Espinoza, co-owner of Puerto Vallarta Amigos.

His Mexican cuisine food truck is regularly parked in a private lot at Yates and Wharf streets.

“Victoria is one of the cities with more restaurants per capita, but the workforce needs more (affordable) take-out options,” he said. “And a lot of people only have half an hour for lunch.”

Espinoza’s family business was the first of several food trucks to be approved for operation on private property in Victoria, but the bureaucratic red tape made the start-up onerous.

“It took about six months to find a space and get all the permits. No one had dealt with anything like this before,” he said. Victoria’s tourism draw and walkability make it an ideal candidate for streetside fare, Espinoza added.

Helps agreed, but said any movement will have to take place when the dust settles on budgeting and other priorities.

“It’s going to have to wait until the 2014 election,” she said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Oak Bay parents expect to hear details on childcare spaces

School Board officials to provide more details at public meeting Thursday

City of Victoria to start charging illegal short-term rental operators

Anyone without a proper business license could face $500 per day in fines

VIDEO: Oak Bay High robots compete in international competition

Local school hosts league competition Saturday

Crown to appeal acquittal of Victoria masseur accused of sexual assault

BC Prosecution Service review of the ruling found ‘the judgment revealed errors of fact and law’

Bike thief steals elderly man’s electric-assist bike

Bicycle is a black Raleigh Sprite IE Electric stolen from 600-block of Toronto Street

What are the worst parking spots in Victoria?

We are looking for the worst places in the city to park and need your opinion

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read