The Capt’n Kenny’s Fresh fish and chips truck parks in a church parking lot in Port Hawkesbury for a couple of months each year.
Recently, his vendor fee skyrocketed from $300 per year to between $1,500$ to $2,000 per year depending on either six or 12 months of operation. This vote by the local town council is both unreasonable and counterproductive.
In a recent news story, town councillor Joe Janega stated “All we want to do is keep everybody on the same playing field, on the same equal amounts,” he said. “When Ken’s chip truck pulls into that parking lot, the Town of Port Hawkesbury still has to plow the streets, we have to supply water and sewer, we have to keep the sidewalks clean to the best of our ability, we have to pick up the garbage.”
But, not all businesses can be on the same playing field. A food truck – much like the trucks that used to arrive in town for a day to sell apples, berries, or fish – is not a brick and mortar business. They are not using the same utilities and space as permanent restaurants and businesses. Capt’n Kenny’s was here in the summer, so no plowing required. He didn’t use sewer lines or water lines and he provided his own trash cans on site which is a rarity along a main street with no public trash cans aside from the fast food chains. I haven’t seen any garbage bearing his food truck’s name blowing around town, although there is a lot of it belonging to other food outlets.
Capt’n Kenny’s was another option in a place with limited choices which provided something different for folks. It is these small vendors which provide a sense of community to a town. The vendors who show up mainly during the limited warm weather months and people look forward to seeing them each year. Some visitors stated that they drive into town just to have Capt’n Kenny’s fish and chips. Maybe they would also stop at other businesses while they’re in town?
Maintaining a tightly closed market only serves to force residents to drive out of town looking for options when the choices are kept limited. Residents of the town should also be given some assurances that the decisions and votes being made by their council members are truly in the best interest of the town and community, and not in the best interest of only the town council.