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Sooke’s food truck pilot project under scrutiny

Councillor questions impact food trucks will have on nearby restaurants
Food trucks will be allowed to operate in several Sooke parks beginning May 1. (Black Press Media file photo)

A closer look at the Sooke food truck experiment is on the menu.

The District of Sooke decided to serve up the option of allowing food trucks in several Sooke parks beginning May 1 to provide park visitors with food and refreshments, a pilot project that would run through the summer.

ALSO READ: Sooke approves food truck pilot program for local parks

Sooke Coun. Al Beddows said he has some reservations about the decision, however, considering the impact it may have on local restaurants.

“We will start the experiment and see how it goes, but I still have some reservations,” Beddows said.

Having food trucks at Ed Macgregor Park, in close proximity to several restaurants, could negatively affect their business, Beddows noted.

“I thought it was bad timing, with so many restaurants struggling because of COVID. We’ll be monitoring it closely to see if it has an impact.”

His preference would have been to allow the food trucks at locations not as close to restaurants, such as at the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park or Whifin Spit, but there were concerns raised about parking.

Some food trucks have already set up shop in Sooke at established locations, Beddows said. “They seem to be taking care of themselves.”

ALSO READ: ‘Queen of the comeback’ opens food truck in Sooke

One restaurant owner Beddows spoke with reminded him of how many restaurants support the community through initiatives like sponsoring ball teams.

Owners of food truck businesses in the Sooke region will be given preference for the pilot project. They must pay $250 a month for a permit, as well as a $300 damage deposit. Operators are required to have $2 million in liability insurance, a business licence, and an Island Health permit.

Beddows stressed that this is a pilot project, and the public and business community will have the opportunity to provide feedback to assist council with addressing the issue in the future.

A similar program planned for last year was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic


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