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.

Just Posted

Teenager target of indecent exposure at Willows Beach in Oak Bay

Suspect exposed his genitals to a teenage girl Saturday

Guests don’t lament, Celtic song, Irish dinner

A sea of green shamrocks shone on the Monterey Centre’s Saint Patrick’s… Continue reading

Tonight: Committee of the Whole meeting

Municipal Finance Authority, Cadboro Bay Road Bike Lanes, Asset Management

Two puppies snatched from East Sooke home

Anyone with information asked to contact Sooke RCMP

Saanich teen helps save three people from the Gorge

53-year-old male who was submerged is expected to recover

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

America’s Musical Journey premieres at the IMAX

Enter to win tickets to an invite only concert at your community newspaper’s Facebook page

Comox Valley Valley lotto ticket worth $2 million

Someone who purchased a lottery ticket in the Comox Valley was chanelling… Continue reading

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Man dies in crash on Island Highway

Man thrown from his vehicle, alcohol believed to be a factor in accident near Parksville

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Most Read