Street Meat Falls Short

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TORONTO — Toronto’s city council has declared its street meat A La Cart program a failure.

A report recently issued by senior city officials recommended the program — launched in 2008 to diversify the city’s street meat offerings — be cancelled immediately and vendors reimbursed for location fees. Issa Ashtariah, a vendor who operates a cart at the corner of University Avenue and College Street, told CTV News the cancellation isn’t surprising.

Vendors like Ashtariah were charged $30,000 for their carts, an aspect of the program that the report deems “ill-designed and onerous.” “Something breaks every day,” explains Ashtariah. “There’s nothing else to break. Nothing works. It’s only the grill, and you can get that at Canadian Tire for $500.”

“I don’t think we had to cancel it, it basically imploded onto itself,” Denzil Minnan-Wong, executive member of City Council said, as reported by The Globe and Mail. “It died a very sad death and unfortunately left in its wreckage a lot of small-business people.”

Though the report recommends vendors be permitted to conduct business as usual at their current locations, and vendors be refunded for last year’s permit fee and exempted from the same fee for the next three years, some say it’s not enough.

“You’sre talking about a $100,000 investment,” Ashtariah told CTV.  “I mean a year’s fee is like $5,000, that’s just like a drop in the ocean.”

 

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