Councillors want bike vendors to sell goods on city streets

When Jeremy Loveday was young, watching his friends sell popsicles from a bicycle was a magical experience.

When Jeremy Loveday was young, watching his friends sell popsicles from a bicycle or seeing an ice cream truck drive by was a magical experience.

On warm summer days, Loveday’s friends would hop on their bikes in Cadboro Bay, ride over to Gyro Park and Cadboro Bay beach and sell popsicles to other youngsters and their families.

On other days, when he would hear the music of ice cream trucks in the distance, Loveday, alongside several other neighbourhood kids, would beg their parents for a toonie and rush out to greet the smiling ice cream truck man.

“When you’re a kid and you see something that you like appear, it’s a little bit magical. It’s a surprise and I remember the ice cream truck had a song and when you heard the song all of the kids on the street would run out of their houses,” he said.

Now, the Victoria city councillor, along with Coun. Ben Isitt are hoping to create those fond memories for young Victorians as well.

Council recently endorsed a motion put forward by the duo to look at allowing bicycle street vendors to sell their goods on city streets.

More than a decade ago, council imposed a moratorium on new business licences that would allow the sale of goods or services from mobile carts on public spaces. Since then, no new licenses have been issued and only four mobile street vending businesses currently sell goods on public space in the city, grandfathered under the program initiated in the 1990s.

About a year ago, two residents approached Loveday and Isitt requesting to operate businesses that would allow them to sell their goods on bikes, including ice cream.

“One of the interesting things is that a lot of people have a sense of nostalgia towards the idea. In our community, we’ll have lots of people who (may) come up with innovative, entrepreneurial ideas if this avenue was open,” said Loveday.

Since Loveday posted the motion online, he’s received a lot of feedback from residents, mostly in favour of the idea.

“It’s time to give this another look. This is coming from entrepreneurs who think this is a good idea and they want to have a shot at making a business like this happen in Victoria. When we have entrepreneurs who are looking to take that step into business, we should be supporting them.”

He noted there are several places where bike vendors could thrive, including Dallas Road in the summer months, since there are long stretches where you can’t buy ice cream within a few kilometres.

The idea will come before council again during the next quarterly update.