A Saanich councillor says he would be open to allow more businesses operate in local parks.
“I don’t see any problems with having a couple of food trucks or a lemonade stand operating in our parks,” said Coun. Ned Taylor. “I think that could be a way to enliven our parks. Of course, it is a balancing act. I don’t necessarily want our parks full of food trucks.”
Saanich’s parks management and control bylaw currently states “no person shall sell or offer to sell any refreshments, goods or services or conduct any business in any park or on any beach” save and except with the “written permission” from council.
Taylor, who chairs Saanich’s parks, trails and recreation advisory committee, said it might time to reconsider this wording. “Right now, the door is almost completely closed to businesses operating in parks,” he said. “I’m not saying that we should open the flood gates and let anything go. But from my perspective, allowing for some opportunities for food trucks, food stands or some sport rental businesses, that to me, seems like an interesting way to enliven our parks.”
Saanich has in past allowed food trucks in parks, but generally around major events like Saanich Strawberry Festival or Cadboro Bay Festival. Looking at the larger picture, food trucks may be permitted where Saanich’s zoning bylaw permits fast food restaurants and where they do not impact parking and landscaping requirements. A development permit amendment may be required.
While Taylor has been focusing on other issues such as raising Saanich’s climate change goals, he has been discussing the issue with staff. “As a new councillor, I want to make sure that I’m not trying to take on too much and not succeed at all,” he said. “But this is something that I have been thinking about. That [is] something that was in my election platform.”
Taylor said the key is balance. “One of the things that we like about our parks is that we can get away from the city and embrace nature and open space and green space,” he said. “So it’s really important that we preserve that aspect our parks.”