Mobile city biz licences could raise needed $
Entrepreneurs may soon be able to travel around the Tri-Cities with a mobile licence, making it easier -— and cheaper — to do business in the northeast region.
This week, the Tri-Cities’ Chamber of Commerce called on Coquitlam’s council-in-committee to pass a motion to join an inter-municipal mobile licensing program with Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
Although receptive, Coquitlam’s committee made no immediate decision; however, Michael Hind, the Chamber’s executive director, said his organization is scheduled to make the same pitch to PoCo and PoMo city councils next Monday and Tuesday.
A single mobile licence that would allow service people like landscapers, contractors, janitors, restorers, mechanics, caterers and photographers to move freely within the Tri-Cities would be a “win for consumers, a win for the cities and a win for businesses,” said Coun. Craig Hodge, a past Chamber president and photographer who has lobbied for a mobile licensing system in the past, including at the provincial level.
Hodge said the Tri-Cities has several models to follow as mobile licences currently exist in other B.C. jurisdictions like Greater Victoria, Trail, Cowichan Lake area, north and west Vancouver, Courtenay and Comox, and Okanagan-Similkameen, where there are 19 participating municipalities and regional districts.
“In each of these areas, the local government experienced greater compliance and businesses benefited by reduced time and expense, and simplified expansion into new markets,” Chamber director Velvet Cates Capell told Coquitlam’s committee on Monday.
According to Chamber figures, revenues have gone up in each Okanagan-Similkameen municipality since the program started there in 2007: in Kelowna, business licence revenues skyrocketed by nearly $78,000 in a year while in West Kelowna, the revenues jumped by $33,400, and $19,640 in Vernon.
The cost for an Okanagan-Similkameen mobile licence is $150; in Victoria, it’s around $100.
Mobile licences are separate from a regular business licence, and holders must adhere to the bylaws in each community, Cates Capell said.
Meanwhile, nearby municipalities are also considering mobile licences, with Chambers of Commerce in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Mission, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows urging their city councils to follow suit with a single permit for the Fraser Valley.
If the Tri-Cities goes ahead with the pilot program, the Chamber may also promote the concept of a Metro Vancouver-wide mobile licensing program.