Mobile trades to pay $165: Tri-City task force

The task force looking at mobile business licensing in the Tri-Cities. - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
The task force looking at mobile business licensing in the Tri-Cities.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Tri-City businesses that operate in all three cities may soon pay a single flat fee to set up shop.

A task force is recommending entrepreneurs and tradespeople — i.e., contractors, landscapers, restorers and caterers — shell out $165 on top of their annual business licence for a mobile business permit.

Coquitlam Coun. Craig Hodge, who pitched the idea at Monday's council-in-committee meeting along with fellow task force members — Port Coquitlam Coun. Mike Forrest and Port Moody Coun. Diana Dilworth — said a single mobile business licence would not only make it easier for companies to do business but municipalities would benefit, too.

And the three cities would likely see better compliance with licence requirements, Hodge said, citing the example of the Okanagan-Similkameen, which has seen a 30% rise in compliance since it started its mobile licence program in 2007 with 19 participating municipalities and regional districts. The cost for an Okanagan-Similkameen mobile licence is $150.

Hodge, a past president of the Tri-Cities' Chamber of Commerce and photographer, said mobile licences are separate from a regular business licence and holders must adhere to the bylaws in each community.

The task force worked with the provincial government to come up with a revenue-splitting formula for the Tri-Cities' pilot program, he said. It has suggested Coquitlam receive 29% of the revenues while Port Coquitlam gains 18% and Port Moody 53% to avoid any loss.

A similar formula is also being proposed for the Fraser Valley, which would be handy should the Tri-Cities join that region for mobile licensing at a later date, Hodge told The Tri-City News on Tuesday.

According to the task force study that focused specifically on the construction industry, 1,226 contractors last year took out business licences in the Tri-Cities but only 154 of them had multiple licences, which brought in about $69,000 for the three cities.

With the planned $165 flat fee, Hodge expects Coquitlam would likely see a 5% boost to its licensing revenues while PoCo and PoMo would gain 11% more each.

Asked by Coun. Lou Sekora if the program would add staff time and costs, Forrest said if at the end of the pilot project, that is an issue, changes will be made.

The task force is expected to go before PoCo and PoMo city councils in the next month; if bylaws are adopted at each city, the mobile licences would be in effect starting Jan. 1, 2013 and the program would be managed by the province's mobile business registry.


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