By Contributor | The Chronicle Herald
A business woman is speaking out about a new Wolfville vending by-law that aims to prevent food-trucks from operating in town on a regular basis during its summer festival season.
Lisa Boehme says she can’t park her food-truck within town limits unless it is on an appropriately-zoned lot, which is limited to private land in the downtown area, or with a permit on public land during special events like the Apple Blossom Festival.
Boehme operates Binky’s Donuts, which features a variety fresh, hand-crafted dessert doughnuts made with natural and seasonal ingredients and given names like Lucy, Neon Joe and Ruby Delight.
In the afternoons, the truck morphs in taco stand called the Edible Sideshow.
“It’s two businesses in one,” she said.
“I love to see local small businesses partnering up with others and events like the festival provide plenty of opportunity to do that,” Boehme told the Chronicle Herald.
“For a seasonal business that really only operates five months a year, I can’t make a living off a handful of special events in town,” she said.
The town’s other festival events are Devour, Deep Roots and Mud Creek Days.
Boehme says she now feels a little differently to how she felt when she first moved to Wolfville from Victoria, B.C.
“I thought Nova Scotia was the new frontier and moving to Wolfville would also apply, but alas Wolfville has proved to be closed to certain businesses.”
Boehme said the truck needs some mechanical work so she can’t travel far. “I want to remain in the local area anyway,” she said.
But with the new vendor by-law, her main base is guaranteed to be outside town limits at Stirling Fruit Farm.
The Town of Wolfville recently held a public hearing for the vending permit system that seems to apply only to the food truck industry.
Other forms of vending, such as at the town’s popular farmer’s market, busking, and not for profit peddling don’t require a permit.
Boehme, who was also on the committee to help craft the policy, was the only person who spoke up at the hearing.
“The diversity of the food in a town that’s supposed to be a food town, the trucks offers a different way of dining,” she said.
“It’s fast, quick, easy and it’s seasonal,” Boehme commented to council and staff.
Director of Community Development Chrystal Fuller said in her comments to council there was concern from the business community that vending was happening in Wolfville without necessary regulation.
“So the bylaw is designed to give clarity to what the process is,” she said.
“We want our food destination brand to be a strong and to protect and enhance that brand.”
Boehme said, “If you want economic development, you can’t pick and choose what comes your way. You have to welcome everyone.”
“And it’s a university town. Without the students, our businesses would be nothing. We have to remember to cater to them,” arguing that affordable food truck fare is a great option for everyone.
Boehme’s food truck takes up two parking spaces, but when she first started out the only business along Main St. or Front St. was open to renting her a parking space was the Acadia Theatre.
“Owners of the mortar and brick business argue we don’t pay taxes, but if we pay a site fee, isn’t that contributing to the town in the same way?” she said.
The way it is now, people are stopping to visit her food truck outside the town and not in the town.
Boehme is also inviting other food trucks in the province to join hers at Food Truck Fridays starting June 24.
“We have proven financially that joint businesses working together, we’re both make making more money than we had before,” she said.
“Businesses working together create a thriving community for locals and visitors. More people ultimately leads to financial success for all.”