The City of Whitehorse says it is working out solutions for next year’s Street Eats Festival after some food truck staff had their vehicles ticketed during this year’s event. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Whitehorse to improve on Street Eats Festival parking after vendors ticketed

‘We kind of looked at it like a trade-off kind of thing.’

Parking for food truck staff at future editions of Whitehorse’s Street Eats Festival is “definitely” something the city says it will address after some vendors had their vehicles ticketed during this year’s event.

“We were just so busy that we didn’t have a chance to get out and plug our metres… And that’s a great reason to not plug our metres, but there could have been, maybe, some arrangements made prior to,” said Ron Davis, co-owner of the Yukon Gravy Train food truck. Gravy Train was among the 11 vendors that took part in the festival held Aug. 14 to 18.

Davis said he paid about $50 worth of parking tickets over the first four days of the festival, paying them off as they were issued so he wouldn’t incur penalty charges. It wasn’t until the last day that another vendor, who had also received several parking tickets over the week, arranged for parking passes with the city for everyone.

Although the tickets were an “inconvenience,” Davis added it was only a small blip on an otherwise “fantastic” week.

“We take our units to different festivals and stuff where we actually pay to go to these places and the city didn’t charge us as a vendor to be there… What I paid in parking fines, I’m okay with in that aspect because there were no other fees for me. We kind of looked at it like a trade-off kind of thing,” he said.

Besides parking, Davis said he’d like to see more seating for patrons, nearby public-access washrooms and music next year, but added that he “absolutely, 100 per cent” would participate again.

The City of Whitehorse’s economic development coordinator, Chaofeng Zhang, who planned this year’s Street Eats Festival, said she’s currently working on a report about what can be done differently next year.

“During the festival, I did talk to one of the vendors there and she mentioned that parking is something that we can improve on in the future,” Zhang said in an interview Thursday.

“Parking is definitely something we will be working on for next year’s event, yes, that’s for sure.”

The city sent feedback surveys to the vendors following the festival, she added, and will be taking their responses into account when planning begins for next year’s event.

According to the city, the 2017 Street Eats Festival attracted an estimated 5,000 attendees over the week and that almost all participating vendors reported a doubling or tripling of their normal sales numbers.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com