Maffeo Sutton Park Need Food Carts

Jim Taylor —  September 16, 2010
Follows is a portion of an article I posted on my website http://www.nanaimoblog.com today. I have also sent it as a letter to local press and to each member of council.
I believe it offers a very positive suggestion which should result in a win win win win situation. With that in mind, I expect much resistance. :^)
Maffeo Sutton Park NEEDS Food Vendors

To City Council, staff and Economic Development Committee:

Nanaimo is always looking for ways of promoting itself as a ‘destination’ city for visitors from around the world. We have a world class convention centre and casino of reasonable size, next year we will have a cruise ship terminal designed to entice world travelers to our shores.

With that thought in mind the city should encourage the addition of as varied a bunch of food carts as the business community can think up to occupy Maffeo Sutton Park and our delightful waterfront. Make no mistake, a specialty food, done to perfection will make people come downtown simply to satisfy their taste buds.
This idea of course is the opposite of the current city policy of limiting Maffeo Sutton Park to only one vendor. This is a policy which is difficult to understand and is opposed to the free market system. It is great news if you are the one vendor awarded the contract, but not so good if you happen to want a variety of food to sample.

I propose that city council give considerable thought to the idea of developing a diverse food cart business in our parks and along our lovely seawall. Leave the problems of what types of food to offer to the buying public. If vendors offer unpopular food, they will be gone soon enough. To encourage the development of what could become a reason for visiting downtown, whether you are a resident or a cruise ship passenger, I suggest they offer cart space for half price the first year to entice vendors to participate. This would be a win win win win situation as the business people operating the carts would make money, the visiting public can sample some great food, downtown businesses would benefit from increased traffic and the city would generate more revenue than a single vendor would be able to pay.

Properly done this could become a feature Nanaimo could be famous for, make no mistake people are fond of eating. Who knows, we might even be able to convince another cruise ship or two to choose Nanaimo over Vancouver.

So, how about it, economic development committee, what do you say?

Jim Taylor

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