Fish and Chips On The Drive

March 24, 2013
Is this the future for Grandview Park?

Is this the future for Grandview Park?

As I have written earlier this month, there is much controversy about having food trucks on Commercial Drive.  I have written my own letter to the City which I am happy to share here:

I am writing to complain in the most vigorous terms about the imposition by the City of a mobile food truck that has recently begun parking in front of Grandview Park. I am also concerned that additional food truck licenses are being considered for Commercial Drive against the wishes, I believe, of the BIA and most residents in the neighbourhood.

According to the City’s own food truck program documentation, the City expects food trucks to

(a) create local economic benefits;
(b) provide food options for communities currently underserved; and
(c) enlive the street scene.

It is clear to anyone who knows Commercial Drive that none of these expectations are being met in this case: The economic benefits will flow only to a merchant who already operates on the Drive; there are already 93 restaurants on Commercial Drive between Venables and Broadway offering a dazzling array of eat-in and take-out food options (inclusing excellent fish and chips); and Commercial Drive is already considered one of the most lively street scenes in the City.

The previous paragraph will be true for any and all food trucks that appear on Commercial Drive. With regard to the Daily Catch’s van in particular and its position on Grandview Park, there are additional issues. As you are aware, Grandview has a significant deficit in green space when compared with other areas of the City. Therefore, to have our premier park marred by the presence of a food truck is simply outrageous. The truck also takes up coveted street parking space used by all property-tax-paying businesses on the Drive. There are also odour and noise issues to consider.

Each of these problems will be magnified by the presence of — so we hear — up to four such trucks on the Drive.

With regard once again to the Daily Catch, there can be no argument that they have now invested considerable sums on their truck and so some compromise needs to be found for them — away from any Park or residential area. Having them remain outside their own store seems one option, though I understand a number of food businesses on that block have complained about their presence. Perhaps they could move to the Cut where they would gain traffic from the SkyTrain. Perhaps they could be accommodated on the City’s parking lot at Commercial and Adanac where the bike route would be favourable for them. Other suggestions have included the Waldorf Hotel and the busy transit area of Commercial and Hastings.

At a well-attended public meeting of GWAC earlier this month, the President of the Commercial Drive BIA specifically stated that the BIA was and is utterly opposed to food trucks on the Drive, and that they had only become involved through pressure from the City. Given that both the BIA and a considerable number of residents are opposed to their presence, can you please give assurances that no further food trucks will be imposed on us?

The letter was sent to the City Licensing Department and copied to The Daily Catch, the BIA and GWAC.

I’m sure there will be readers who support the idea of food trucks here, who don’t mind our Grandview Park being turned into a version of the PNE midway where fast-food grab-joints fill the air with grease and other noxious fumes.  Fair enough, but many of us don’t want that kind of dystopian future here.

As the letter notes, there are already almost a hundred eating places within walking distance of the Park; no one is going short of choice.  In fact, if you find yourself at the Park and feel a desire for fish and chips, walk just two blocks north to Windjammer Fish & Chips where the food is at least as good as on the truck, is cheaper, and where you can sit down and enjoy your meal in the comfort of a restaurant.  Or just walk across the street to Fet’s where they also serve excellent fish and chips and you can enjoy their patio seating.

Or, of course, you could go to the Daily Catch store, buy a lovely piece of fish and cook it yourself at home.