Councillor Jim Boldt was understandably concerned.
Janet and John Lafortune came to him with a vexing story. For the last five years or so they have run the concession stand at Conlon Farm selling hamburgers and french fries. They have worked hard often staying longer hours than needed, and have become a presence at the park. Councillor Riq Turner suggested they provide a safety factor to kids at night.
They look forward to Canada Day every year — it’s always a rewarding day for them, one they depend on. It helps with business, it helps with bills. This year was going to be no exception.
“Apparently,” Boldt continued, “this year town staff decided to bring in Law and Orders who are gourmet vendors [of specialty burgers]” for Canada Day. They sell hamburgers and fries. He acknowledged they were “great people” and served “great food.”
But “Lafortunes have been told they are forbidden from selling hamburgers and fries on the biggest day of the year.
“Why did we bring in a vendor to compete directly with them? The Lafortunes have done a lot for [ the Town of Perth]. I have a great concern that we’ve done what we’ve done” to them.
On reflection, Boldt’s answer to the dilemma was for the two – the Lafortune’s and Law and Orders – to work in concert. “There’s got to be a compromise.”
Councillor Judy Brown wasn’t so sure. A contract is a contract and if the town starts reneging with one client, it opens the door to others; trusting town staff’s decision is important. “Could the canteen cook sausages on a bun,” she asked.
When Chief Administrative Officer John deRosenroll was asked for his opinion he said “there’s an existing contract that says the Town can bring in other vendors” during which time existing vendors cannot sell the same goods.
The contract between the town and the Lafortunes states “the lessee will be permitted to also operate during these events (special event BBQs including Canada Day) but will not offer for sale products that conflict with the lessor.”
Mayor John Fenik added that in his opinion the two are not selling the same fare. Law and Orders hamburgers are “definitely not” like the canteens.
On consultation with deRosenroll, Fenik stated “we are not in breach of our contract. It is up to us what we want to do.”
Mayor Fenik then placed a motion on the floor “to allow the canteen vendors to sell hamburgers and fries alongside the Law and Orders folks.”
The motion was passed six to one with Councillor Brown opposing.