UPDATE: On Wednesday night, city council voted 4-3 in favour of going with the staff recommendation to accept Trollers Fish and Chips as one of the mobile food vendors in Community Park this year. The city will re-advertise the request for proposals to get a second vendor. Below is a story written before council’s meeting Wednesday night. See Tuesday’s edition of The NEWS for more on this story-JH
Trollers Fish and Chips, a popular eatery on the Nanaimo Waterfront, might be a fixture on Parksville Beach soon.
City council had a staff recommendation to vote on last night (results not available at press time) that would accept Trollers as one of the two new mobile food vendors in Community Park. Staff’s suggestion was to re-advertise for the second vendor, although the door remained open for council to consider other options, including the rejection or acceptance of both proposals received by the city.
In November of last year, the previous city council adopted a plan to reconfigure the existing Community Park concession/washroom to a washroom/changeroom-only building. Council then decided to build pads and supply services for two mobile food vendors to replace the concession and put out a request for proposals (the RFP). Two proposals were received through the RFP, one from Trollers and one from Beaches Bistro. There is a Beaches Bistro in Port Alberni, but it’s unclear if it is connected to the proposal included in the city staff report.
The Trollers’ proposal called for rent of $2,000/month to the city; Beaches Bistro, $650. There were provisions in the RFP about healthy eating choices. This from Trollers’ website: “We serve up local and wild-caught seafood: choose from our natural and from-scratch battered fish and chips or try it grilled with a mixed green salad and home-made raspberry vinaigrette.”
In its report council considered last night, city staff said there were indications from other mobile food vendors that they did not see the posting so did not submit. Staff also expressed concerns about the large variance in the rent proposed from the two bids, saying “re-advertising may result in further proposals which could better establish market value and provide more options for council’s consideration.”
The Parksville Downtown Business Association was asked to review the proposals for the city.
“Although they declined any involvement in the ranking, they did comment that both proposals would have the potential for taking business away from PDBA ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses and further commented the Troller’s proposal would be in direct competition with Yorky’s Fish and Chips who are moving into the Parksville Plaza directly across the highway from the Community Park,” staff wrote. “The PDBA also indicated their preference to limit any award for food vending in the park to satellite operations of existing established PDBA businesses.”
In a related item, council also had a staff recommendation to vote on last night to award the tender for the Community Park washroom facility to Built Contracting Ltd. of Nanoose Bay for $303,879.45.
The concession in Community Park was generally opened for the season in mid-April. If council awarded the tender last night for the renovations to the building, the washroom/changeroom facility will be closed immediately and, according to the RFP, be open again by June 30. City staff said portable washroom facilities will be brought to the park in the interim.
See Tuesday’s edition of The NEWS for the result of these votes and other news from city council’s meeting last night.