Food carts in Vancouver parks by summer 2012?

Photo Credit: Flickr | Kris Krug for Tourism Vancouver

More breaking news for Vancouver’s restless food cart scene: The Vancouver park board is set to vote on a food cart pilot program for Vancouver parks Monday, March 26. If the votes goes through, food carts will appear in highly-visible, trial locations this summer including the info booth in Stanley Park, Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park and next to the Burrard Marina in Vanier Park.

Which food carts will be chosen, and how are Vancouver food cart vendors responding? Find out after the jump.

News from the food cart scene

Despite the exciting announcement that 12 new food carts will launch this year, there’s been a lot of grumbling about the Vancouver food cart scene in 2012, at least prior to this announcement about the chance to add food carts to public parks.

It started with a Sightline Daily article “Freeing food carts” on Vancouver and Seattle’s comparatively rigid food cart laws, when viewed against the Rose City’s laissez faire food cart regulation.

Meanwhile the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association brought up food cart saturation points, with concerns that food cart expansion will hurt “bricks and mortar” restaurants.

Vancouver food cart vendors have brought up issues like their desire to sell booze on food trucks and to have less limitations on menus; unlike restaurants, food cart menus are city-approved. Others have mentioned that they’d like greater freedom to move around. Read more food cart location guidelines here.

Food carts in Vancouver parks by summer 2012

But the overwhelming response to the possibility of food cart expansion into Vancouver parks is positive. Vancouver parks, especially in glorious summer, are an ideal place to show case the city’s creative culinary talent before locals and tourists. The park board is looking for trucks with environmentally-friendly, healthy themes. If the trial program is approved and goes well, Vancouver may just get food trucks at sports fields too.

As for food cart growth in Vancouver, most foodie fans and participants want to see the food cart scene expand organically and sustainably. Portland’s food cart culture is thriving with 700 carts (12 per 10,000 residents); Vancouver has 91, with 12 more arriving this year (2 per 10,000 residents.)

If the response to the demise of Coma Food Truck is any indication, Vancouverites love their food trucks. There’s certainly room for growth, and a lot to look forward to in the warm months ahead…when you may be able to grab a Boston butt pulled pork sandwich and sweet tea, while strolling toward the Vancouver Aquarium.

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