DWK lifts 'Cone of Silence'
Jun 13, 2012 / 5:00 am
Apparently there is such a thing as bad publicity.
West Kelowna Council has bowed to negative press and negative responses from the community and will allow music to continue to emanate from mobile ice cream trucks.
Three weeks ago, as part of its Mobile Vending Policy, council included a provision that would have eliminated music from mobile vending operators such as ice cream trucks.
The policy returned to Council Chambers Tuesday with a few amendments, including one which would allow mobile vending machines to play amplified music.
While admitting the previous decision resulted in plenty of feedback and discussion from the general public and in the media, Mayor Doug Findlater says adoption of the bylaw amendments were scheduled to return to the council table at this time.
"The process worked," says Findlater.
In an unamplified response the mayor got to the heart of the matter and added, "We did something the public didn't like and we heard them loud and clear on this one. There was certainly a lot of interest in a short period of time."
Councillor Gord Milsom says council got the message 'loud and clear.'
"The sound of the ice cream trucks is an acceptable summer tradition and this tradition should continue," says Milsom.
"I am pleased at the number of residents who did express their views on this issue and the fact they took the time to stand up and say no, we want to continue with the ice cream truck songs."
Milsom says a second message was also delivered to council.
"We should be careful not to over-regulate."
Councillor Carol Zanon supported the amplified music ban the first time this came before council, but now says she will support an amendment of some sort.
"What can I say. I've certainly been scooped and I know when I'm licked," says Zanon.
The amendment council agreed on allows mobile vending operations to play amplified music only while they are in motion.
This also means that mixed vendors, those that remain in a stationary location like at a beach or park are prohibited from amplified music.
"I think this is a good compromise. It's fair to the stationary vendors and it's fair to the ice cream trucks and any other roaming vendor there might be out there that wants to play music while they are in motion," added Councillor Duane Ophus.
A second amendment allowing mobile vendors the opportunity to spend 30 minutes at a single stop instead of the proposed 15 was also added to the bylaw.
A third amendment, proposed by Councillor Rick de Jong to remove Westbank Centre from the list of fixed vendor locations, was voted down.
de Jong suggested a fixed mobile vending operation in the area of the new Spray Park at Westbank Towne Centre Community Park would, in essence, put the municipality in direct competition with year-round, tax paying businesses struggling to survive.
"Establishing fixed mobile vendors in areas that are not being served at this time makes sense as we are indeed creating new economic opportunities within the district by doing so," says de Jong.
"Fixed mobile vendors do have limited financial investments compared to permanent brick and mortar year-round businesses that pay property taxes to the District of West Kelowna."
de Jong says businesses he spoke with in the area are upset at the municipality's decision to include the park as one of three fixed vendor locations.
The amendment was defeated 6-1.
The Mobile Vending Policy was approved on a trial basis throughout the summer and will be revisited again in the fall.
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