Ice cream trucks still locked out of Niagara Falls business areas


Published January 24, 2022 at 1:12 pm

As temperatures drop, ice cream trucks are probably the last thing on most residents’ minds but it became an issue at the January 18 meeting of the Niagara Falls City Council.

The issue: should ice cream trucks be allowed on city property? For the past 20 years, the vans have been banned. The reason: they have little overhead and pay no property taxes, which apparently has struck in the craw of many local businesses.

In a report penned by City Clerk Bill Matson, local BIAs were questioned as to whether the trucks should return. Some Niagara Falls BIA expressed it a little more emphatically than others but the long and short of it was they did not want to see the ice cream trucks on city streets.

The Fallsview BIA and Downtown BIA simply said no to ice cream trucks but a couple of the others stated it far more bluntly with extensive reasoning.

The Clifton Hill BIA was resolute. “When a one block area like Clifton Hill pays over $6,000,000 per year in property taxes, the idea that a food truck can park in front of one of our business operations and compete for business after not having paid any property tax is unreasonable.”

They added that with the money they are sinking into local improvement, they did not want to see a mobile business swoop in and take advantages of their efforts. “Currently, the Clifton Hill BIA is funding $1,000,000 in sidewalk improvements on Clifton Hill. Again, it would not be fair to have another business float in to take advantage of the opportunity.”

The Victoria Center BIA felt likewise. “These food trucks would not be required to contribute into our BIA levies but would be able take advantage of the monumental efforts undertaken by the VCBIA with regards to streetscaping, advertising and marketing as well as the numerous other initiatives the VCBIA undertakes to promote our area at significant cost to our existing membership.”

They added they would prefer not to have an addition to our community that came off as circus-like. “Lastly, the image that would be perceived by our visitor would be one of a carnival type theme, which we have strived to abstain from as we work diligently to ensure our visitors are welcomed into a world-class type destination offering world class offerings and this would not be able to be achieved by permitting any type of refreshment trucks within the area.”

Matson’s report was simply received by City Council which effectively means the status quo is maintained – no food trucks in Niagara Falls business areas.

Food trucks of any kind are only permitted if the city accepts a special application.

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