Penticton City Council reviewing the beach vending program, including a new proposal for 'vending hubs'

Options for beach vendors

For a continuation of a ‘vibrant, innovative, healthy waterfront city focused on sustainability, community and economic opportunity,’ Penticton city council will be reviewing the three-year bench vending program on Tuesday.

Back in 2011, the city took over the administration of 19 beach vending locations from a private operator who had run the program for many years.

Then In 2013, the City increased the total number of available sites to 40 for Okanagan and Skaha Lake beaches. Only 25 spots were occupied. In 2017, the program and rates were reviewed for the 2018 season, and adjustments were made to include establishing three-year License to Use agreements for vendors, reducing the number of vendors and relocating vending sites from the sand to the walkway.

To date, the Beach Vending program has 24 sites, 12 along Okanagan Lake and 12 at Skaha Lake. Previous vendors have sold mini doughnuts, shaved ice, clothing, jewelry, sunglasses, temporary tattoos and paddle board rentals.

The three-year License to Use agreements for current vendors at the lakes expired on Sep. 7, 2020.

Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will also be submitting a recommendation to Council to approve or deny the renewal.

According to the staff’s report, the program generated about $17,629.62 (vendor fees only) in revenue from a total of 12 sites in 2020. There was a drop in vendors due to the pandemic.

If all sites are licensed in 2021, revenue would be $30,850. Due to the pandemic, staff are not recommending a rate increase at this time.

“Vendors make an important contribution to our walkways, providing much colour and liveliness, as well as a reason for people to walk and spend time outdoors during the summer months. Vending also provides job opportunities and employment for our residents,” the report reads.

In 2021, staff plans to continue to give preference to vendors that are City residents as part of our awarding process and work through feedback from vendors on requests for changes.

As well, a Beach Vending Program is being discussed, an idea that came forward from Councillor Bloomfield.This concept would be to create a concentration of four to eight vendors in a single location to build a unique experience for residents and tourists alike.

According to the report, survey respondents in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan development process are in strong support of small food and merchandise vendors across the waterfront parks.

Staff are recommending it be further explored for potential implementation as early as the 2022 season.

Possible locations being explored include:

  • Riverside Drive Area
  • Lakawanna Park
  • Martin Street Extension Parking Lot
  • Marina Way Area
  • South Beach Drive (Skaha Lake) Parking Lot

Should the vending hub be approved to proceed staff will further investigate and report back on the recommended vending hub structures and ownership arrangement to be used.

Community engagement will be done through the Shape Your City platform. Residents will be polled on what changes or improvements they would like to see with the program, i.e. their likes, dislikes, and if they would be interested in seeing a Vendor Hub, as well as voting on which location they would like to see a Vendor Hub.

The poll results will be presented to Parks and Recreation Committee on March 11, and to Council at the April 20 Council meeting.

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