While food cart vendors are encouraged to apply to operate near the Comox Marina, Comox council voted against the idea of establishing a designated food court area in east Marina Park.
At Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting, Coun. Russ Arnott’s motion was defeated 5-1 (Mayor Paul Ives was not present) to use five parking spots during the summer to establish a designated zone for food/craft carts.
Citing feedback from the Comox BIA, acting mayor Hugh MacKinnon said there was strong debate, and the organization needed more time for feedback.
Arnott argued there already is a bylaw in place to allow food carts on a case-by-case basis, and his suggestion was a temporary one for this summer, to understand what type of business it can generate for a season.
“It’s a nice addition to the marina area without taking anything away from anyone,” he explained.
Coun. Ken Grant said the issue was becoming far bigger then he had ever imagined.
“We’re about to get funding (for Marina revitalization), and if we let people spend the time, effort and energy, and then have to tell them you’re out … it’s a lot of effort for one season if it’s successful. Maybe we should leave well enough alone. If we don’t get our funding, it’s a good debate for next season.”
Initially in support of the idea, Coun. Barbara Price agreed with Grant and noted the idea has taken on too much of a life of its own.
“I would like to see what come of the grants. I would be willing to wait.”
Arnott explained the concept would see no infrastructure changes, and would require a minimal amount of parking spots.
“I don’t think we’re taking anything away — in fact, I think we’re adding to it. I’ve heard a lot from the community … people want to see something,” said Arnott. “It’s just giving something to the community that they’ve asked for. This is something so minor … but it is going to tell people Comox is looking at change and is looking forward.”