TBM meat seller fights to keep food truck on site

The owner of a popular Thornbury business has asked The Blue Mountains council for help.

Sean Kelly, owner of Black Angus Fine Meats and Game, was a delegation at council’s meeting on May 27. Kelly has been operating his business in town for the past 18 years. In 2023, he moved the business to 199 King Street East (Highway 26).

The business sells meats, game and fish and as part of its operation has an outdoor kitchen (a food truck) on site that is used for catering, sales and serves lunches from Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The kitchen is health unit approved.

Kelly told council bylaw enforcement officials recently contacted him to say a “refreshment vehicle” is not a permitted use on the property.

“The unit is an extension of my business,” Kelly told council. “All I wish to do is operate.”

He told council that since he moved to the highway location, his business has doubled and he is working to purchase the property, which he is currently leasing.

Kelly said he has had conversations with the planning department on the issue. He said he was told could pay $5,000 to apply for a zoning change. He said town officials told him food trucks are not allowed to operate in the town unless it’s at a town approved location. The town has been advertising for operators of food trucks at three specific locations in the community.

“I was told there is no way to get a license in The Blue Mountain unless I take one of (the town’s) spots,” said Kelly.

After receiving Kelly’s delegation, council unanimously voted to ask for an immediate staff report to outline the regulations on food trucks.

Members of council expressed support for Kelly and his business.

“I’m trying to get my head around this one, it has bothered me quite a bit,” said Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon.

Coun. Shawn McKinlay said there should be a quick solution to the problem.

“I was confused as to what the issue is,” said McKinlay. “I think we can come to a solution when the motion is put forward.”

Coun. Alex Maxwell said the property has a long history of being a prime location for businesses including: two restaurants, a gas station and a real estate office.

“The property has a rich history of commercial activities,” said Maxwell.

Adam Smith, the town’s director of planning and development services, said staff would prepare a report about the issue and said it would be a good idea for there to be a broader conversation around policies about food trucks and refreshment vehicles.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca