Currently, businesses need only follow federal and provincial business licensing regulations to open in the municipality. Byron Johnson, Sun Peaks municipality’s chief administrative officer, states, “We have no business licenses yet, however, we’re working on a bylaw with the goal of possibly bringing in business licenses by 2012.”
Johnson notes the licensing bylaw is being developed in consultation with the business advisory committee.
“There was a portion of people (who said) I can’t afford any more expenses,” says local business owner, and advisory committee member, Dan Stebner. “If they choose to embrace the municipality, then they also have to embrace the growing pains that come with it.”
“What a business license will do is make a business go through the avenues to make the business safe for the customer,” says Ryan Schmalz, owner of Mountain High Pizza and Tod Mountain Coffee. “Really, it’s protection for the consumer.”
Licensing can provide consumer protection and function as a regulatory control for the municipality as the business community grows in Sun Peaks.
“A questionable type of business—we might want to regulate that,” says Stebner, pointing out that other municipalities they’ve studied have stringent regulations for businesses, depending on the type of services provided.
Licensing fees have yet to be determined but are anticipated to be modest.
“A first mandate for the business licenses is to keep (fees) at a base minimum,” comments Stebner. “There has to be a cost applied. Based on the current economic times, the current business climate and the current mood of business owners, we’d do our best to keep (the business license fee) at a minimum.”
How those fees will be used is also to be determined.
“That’s a council decision,” says Johnson. “Money that’s collected from business license fees is used to promote interests of business, maybe for additional security.”
“People have to understand they’re not going to pay their fee and next week they’ll see additional security. Everything takes time,” added Stebner.
A draft of the bylaw will be presented to the business advisory committee for input in October with a goal of first council reading in November. If adopted, the business licensing bylaw will come into effect in January 2012.