Victoria bylaw puts brakes on cycling ice-cream vendors

This ice cream brought to you by Ben and Jerry?

Victoria councillors Ben Isitt and Jeremy Loveday want the city to re-examine its bylaw prohibiting vending from bicycles.

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In a report to the city’s committee of the whole this week — replete with a historical photo of a bow-tied Good Humor man dishing out treats to groups of smiling adolescents — Isitt and Loveday note that more than a decade ago, the city imposed a moratorium on street-vending businesses.

Some aspiring entrepreneurs have written to the city asking that the bylaw be updated to permit “responsible bicycle street vending” in the city.

Isitt noted the city received the written requests about a year ago about selling ice cream from bicycle carts but they have gone nowhere because of the bylaw.

“The response at that time was that this isn’t permitted under the bylaw. There’s only four street vendors who are authorized to sell their goods on public land. Essentially, this whole issue of street vending has been somewhat frozen for about a decade and a half,” Isitt said.

The moratorium is inconsistent with the city’s strategic-plan objective to create prosperity through economic development, the councillors’ report says. “As well, the low-impact, energy-efficient infrastructure associated with bicycle street vending supports the city’s strategic-plan objectives for climate action and active transportation.”

Loveday said bicycle street vending “would be a great sustainable economic development option and a great way for some small businesses to open up and provide life and vibrancy in our city.”

Councillors agreed to refer the matter to the next quarterly strategic-plan update and have staff report back on the resource implications of updating the bylaw.

It’s likely staff will also report back on the implications of bylaw changes that regulate merchants selling materials on the street in front of their shops.

Mayor Lisa Helps said the Downtown Victoria Business Association has asked that those provisions of the bylaw be examined, “particularly on Douglas Street during Car Free Day, and if we ever want to open Government to pedestrians-only during the summer.”

Council recently amended its vehicles-for-hire bylaw, making an additional 18 pedicab licences available through a lottery. There were 118 entries for the 18 licences. There were 28 existing licences

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