Vancouver to test better foods in parks

Street vendors could soon be giving Vancouver park concession operators a run for their money.

For my money, this is just what Toronto needs to do – Ed.

From yesterdays’ Vancouver Sun by By Kelly Sinoski

Vancouver park board officials will vote tonight on whether to approve a pilot project that would see food carts allowed in three high-traffic locations: the information booth in Stanley Park; the top of Queen Elizabeth Park in the Bloedel Conservatory/Seasons in The Park area and Vanier Park next to Burrard Marina.

The idea is to generate revenue for the park board while providing healthier, locally grown food as an alternative to the hotdogs and fried foods that have been staples in city’s parks, said board chairwoman Constance Barnes.

If the one-year pilot project is a success, she would like to see food carts in the fields where children and adults play soccer, softball or other sports.

“This about providing a better service and adding on to what we already have,” Barnes said, noting the park board will talk to the city about its street vendor program.

“Times are changing. We’ll never get rid of the fish and chips … but I think there has to be more than hotdogs and fried foods. We need to make sure we’re tying in healthy active living with good, affordable healthy foods.”

The park board menu has already added some healthier choices. It now offers paninis and some gourmet foods. It has also switched its concession deep fryers to canola and the fish meets the Oceanwise label for sustainable fisheries.

A staff report suggests permits for the new carts could be issued at a cost of $15,000 for Stanley Park, $10,000 for Bloedel and $5,000 for Vanier, based on the visitor numbers in each area. The sites were chosen for their visibility, proximity to pedestrian and vehicle traffic and to minimize com-petition with existing food operations. Vendors would be selected based on suitability to the site, food quality/diversity, and financial return.

Barnes said the move would offer competition to existing concession stands, which she described as “old school” and not necessarily providing the foods, such as locally grown organics, that people now want.

The staff report suggested concessions are older operations with limited space and power available, making it difficult for them to add new equipment to enable a significantly different menu.

It also noted that food and beverage options that are complementary to park board con-cessions, such as the Cactus Club restaurant and the two leased concessions at the English Bay and Kitsilano Boat House locations, have proven successful, bringing increased menu and service variety to park users.

An analysis of the concession stands is underway and will offer suggestions about how to improve them, Barnes added.

The park board will also look at getting public feedback on the pilot projects to see if people would like to see food carts across the park system.

“This may be the start of something big,” Barnes said.

The City of Vancouver started its street food pro-gram in 2008 and expanded it in June 2010 with a focus on culturally diverse, healthy food choices.

There are now 91 street food vendors, with 12 to be added this year.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Better+eating+city+parks+tested/6358765/story.html#ixzz1qMh6fqLWStreet vendors could soon be giving Vancouver park concession operators a run for their money.Vancouver park board officials will vote tonight on whether to approve a pilot project that would see food carts allowed in three high-traffic locations: the information booth in Stanley Park; the top of Queen Elizabeth Park in the Bloedel Conservatory/Seasons in The Park area and Vanier Park next to Burrard Marina.The idea is to generate revenue for the park board while providing healthier, locally grown food as an alternative to the hotdogs and fried foods that have been staples in city’s parks, said board chairwoman Constance Barnes.

If the one-year pilot project is a success, she would like to see food carts in the fields where children and adults play soccer, softball or other sports.

“This about providing a better service and adding on to what we already have,” Barnes said, noting the park board will talk to the city about its street vendor program.

“Times are changing. We’ll never get rid of the fish and chips … but I think there has to be more than hotdogs and fried foods. We need to make sure we’re tying in healthy active living with good, affordable healthy foods.”

The park board menu has already added some healthier choices. It now offers paninis and some gourmet foods. It has also switched its concession deep fryers to canola and the fish meets the Oceanwise label for sustainable fisheries.

A staff report suggests permits for the new carts could be issued at a cost of $15,000 for Stanley Park, $10,000 for Bloedel and $5,000 for Vanier, based on the visitor numbers in each area. The sites were chosen for their visibility, proximity to pedestrian and vehicle traffic and to minimize com-petition with existing food operations. Vendors would be selected based on suitability to the site, food quality/diversity, and financial return.

Barnes said the move would offer competition to existing concession stands, which she described as “old school” and not necessarily providing the foods, such as locally grown organics, that people now want.

The staff report suggested concessions are older operations with limited space and power available, making it difficult for them to add new equipment to enable a significantly different menu.

It also noted that food and beverage options that are complementary to park board con-cessions, such as the Cactus Club restaurant and the two leased concessions at the English Bay and Kitsilano Boat House locations, have proven successful, bringing increased menu and service variety to park users.

An analysis of the concession stands is underway and will offer suggestions about how to improve them, Barnes added.

The park board will also look at getting public feedback on the pilot projects to see if people would like to see food carts across the park system.

“This may be the start of something big,” Barnes said.

The City of Vancouver started its street food pro-gram in 2008 and expanded it in June 2010 with a focus on culturally diverse, healthy food choices.

There are now 91 street food vendors, with 12 to be added this year.

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