By David F. Rooney
Dale Caverly of Scratch claims the City is trying to drive him away from the spot he occupies at 107 Mackenzie — the City-owned parking lot by the bandstand with the result that he’d go out of business — but that’s news to the Director of Planning John Guenther.
“We’re not trying to drive him out of business,” he said in an interview. “There are all kinds of things he can do.”
But what he can’t do is basically squat on City land and use City power to run what should be a mobile food business as a permanent restaurant, Guenther said. As a mobile food business Scratch should be operating in a number of different locations throughout the city — not just in one location.
“I think he feels very comfortable there but he has alternatives,” Guenther said. “We’d like him to move along to other locations such as Woodenhead Park.”
Caverly claims a move could ruin him. He says he not only paid $100 for his business licence but also pays the city to occupy two parking stalls in the lot and has also paid $100 for the power he uses.
That’s not the way Guenther sees it.
“He was billed $1,000 for the stalls but has only paid $100 of that and he paid $100 for the power but that’s the hookup fee,” Guenther said. “There are some major issues with him using extension cords to plug into the power panel (beneath the bandstand). This is a real liability and at some point the liabilities have to be addressed.”
Caverly has had a business licence since 2008 and has been in that location since 2009. He was forced to move prior to the Olympic Torch Relay last January and Guenther said it was at that point that municipal officials realized they had to deal with Caverly’s occupation of the parking lot space.
“Basically we’ve tolerated his presence,” Guenther said. “But it’s time to deal with it. Dale has to understand that it’s not a question of if he’ll have to move but when he’ll have to move.”
He also said that while there have been “some anecdotal complaints” about Scratch from local restaurants no one has directly complained to him.
For his part, Caverly is refusing to budge. He has put an Auto-Lock boot on one of the wheels of his food operation and has organized a petition he hopes will convince the City to let him stay there.
Guenther says the City has no intention of confronting Caverly. “That’s not the Canadian way,” he said.
But if Caverly continues to resist, the City can ultimately take off the gloves, revoke his business licence and — then — force him off the lot.
The issue is likely going to end up in City Council’s lap in the very near future.