Street-vendors struggle in Coquitlam (1of 2)

For three years, James Coutu built and customized the truck that would become his business, as well as Coquitlam’s quickest way to a pulled pork sandwich.

His history in catering and influence from his Mothers Portuguese cooking came together in mobile form, but years after completing his truck he said he prefers doing business in other municipalities.

StreetVendorTweetsAs street vendors and food trucks have increased in popularity across North America, Coquitlam is stuck trying to finalize its policies and procedures on mobile vending.

As the owner of Coquitlam’s first mobile food cart, Coutu has been along for the ride throughout the development process and recent adjustments to the city’s policy on street vending.

Coutu has a history in catering and working with food trucks, but he is new to owning his own business and food truck, called This Little Piggy Catering.

Coutu made the alterations himself and customized his truck to serve as a mobile food vending unit.

“I had the truck for three years before while I was building it… the food vending stuff started taking off even more so I was building it towards catering.”

Street-food vending has been on the menu for the Lower Mainland since 2010, when Vancouver launched a pilot program of 17 licences to gauge popularity.

By 2011, all 17 vendors were accepted in a regular street-vending program, and today Vancouver has over 100 licences total.

Coutu said he was pushing for Coquitlam to permit street-vending licences before the issue came up at council.

“I talked to enough people around city hall that it got brought up at council,” he said.

Coquitlam introduced a bylaw to permit and regulate vending on private and city property in May of 2012, two years after Vancouver launched its pilot.

The bylaw included details on procedures for special events, as well as regulations that new vendors had to meet.

One year after Coquitlam passed a bylaw to permit and regulate street vending, Coutu launched This Little Piggy Catering.

Coutu said many of the recipes’ styles and flavours are inspired from his mother, who works in the food truck with him.

“She works with me quite a bit actually, we get along and we work good together… I can count on her and she likes working.”

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