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Regina food trucks prepare for return to downtown area following fee changes

Regina food trucks have been in a difficult position the last few years, as most have been forced to leave the downtown area.

Right before the COVID-19 pandemic, permits for food trucks to operate downtown rose to $1,300, becoming extremely difficult for many vendors to afford, causing many to leave the area.

“The price for the permits went up significantly without really any consultation and at that point food trucks started not to get them,” Tim Philip, the Frying Deutschmann and nacho fiesta owner said.

For the last few years, many trucks have begun setting up in different parking lots such as the Regina Wholesale Club, where they pay the store a fee instead.

Now, however, it might be a little easier for trucks to get back downtown, as amendments are being made to the mobile vending program.

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At last week’s city council meeting, a unanimous vote saw a decrease in fees.

The changes mean fees for food truck operators will be lowered to $225 from $1,300, with a new option to pay for a parking metre bag for an additional $250.

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“I am very happy to be coming back downtown,” Phillip said. “It’s been several years since we had a food truck down here so it’s good to be back.”

Seven spots downtown in Pat Fiacco Plaza will now be available for trucks to park on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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Vendors may also open for business on any local street with parking and a sidewalk where the posted speed limit is 50 km/h or less.

Roberto Flores, the Tropezón Mex/Can food truck owner said he is excited for the opportunity to get back downtown.

We are going to apply very soon,” he said. “I think offices are filling up now so it will be a good crowd.”

Both Flores and Phillip expect the move to increase business significantly.

Sophie Farrell with the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District said the move is a welcome one they can’t wait to embrace.

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“To have food trucks come downtown and bring more people into the area, it just makes it way easier to get our local businesses getting more patrons and more interaction,” Farrell said.

The City of Regina said it issues permits to an average of just over 10 food trucks every year.

Meanwhile in Saskatoon, upwards of 20 permits are given out every year. The City of Regina said it’s hoping this opportunity will attract more business to the Queen City.

“While it is too early to determine the economic impact of this decision, the City is encouraged with many vendors’ support for these changes,” the City of Regina said.

Click to play video: 'Regina Food Truck Wars'

Regina Food Truck Wars

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