EDITORIAL: Options mean more consumers

Surrey's approval of mobile food vendors is in contrast to White Rock's stance on the matter, which may be worth a second look.

Despite its own poll showing support, the City of White Rock has wavered on introducing food trucks on Marine Drive, making it unlikely such mobile food dispensers will be a feature of the summertime scene at the waterfront, this year, at least.

At the same time, further north, the City of Surrey has said yes to both food trucks and carts as an option and an acceptable business plan.

Opening up such competition has been resisted by existing restaurants – particularly in White Rock, where the feeling of owners is that the pie they have to divide is already a meager one, and a solid summer is the best guarantee of solvency year-round.

Given the experience in other communities – such as Portland, Ore. – it’s hard to imagine that having more variety of food options won’t soon become the norm in our cities. Business analysts agree that, in the long run, competition is a healthy stimulant for trade, and having a multiplicity of choice will be a draw rather than a deterrent in the marketplace. Artificial protectionism may afford short-term security – but it’s scarcely an incentive in promoting an area as a desirable destination.

We venture to say the consumer looking for a relaxed, full-service dining experience is not necessarily the same consumer lining up on the corner for a quick bite, no matter how gourmet. And businesses should recognize that these same potential diners who opt for mobile-vendor food might just like enough of what they see to plan a return visit.

All of which, it must be recognized, offers scant comfort to restaurants struggling to survive in an economic climate that has brought out a fickle side in the most loyal customers.

Sadly, it does not fall within the purview of a city to insist that its restaurants have viable business plans. In one area, however, the city can help.

The biggest enemy of the Marine Drive restaurant is not competition from promenade vendors, but an inflexible parking policy – and a reliance on the cash cow of parking revenues – that does nothing to encourage tourism.

Stories of draconian parking enforcement are legion – and they have created an atmosphere that, far from being welcoming, seems barely tolerant of the visitor with sufficient temerity to visit our picturesque shoreline.

It will take significant policy changes to reverse that impression, but – like the restaurants – the City of White Rock needs to take a long view, particularly when it comes to forsaking short-term revenues for long-term benefit.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Most Read