Comox Valley organization advocates more home-based businesses

The Comox Valley Home-Based Business Association has requested Courtenay council to consider amending zoning bylaws to allow a greater number of people to operate businesses at home.

Lisa Christensen, who owns the Sirius Beauty dog spa, has wanted to move her business into her home since her daughter was born 11 years ago.

“I was surprised to find how restrictive our bylaws are for home-occupation businesses, and I’d like to speak in favour of fixing this issue,” Christensen said in a presentation to council Aug. 17.

She said dog grooming is a well accepted home-based business choice in Cumberland, Campbell River, Port Alberni, Duncan and Nanaimo.

“A great many business owners are facing the destruction of their business in their current form,” she said. “With the ability to move home, they can possibly survive these tough times we’re living in.”

Parents need to be home to help children with distance learning, added Christensen, noting that daycare is “virtually unattainable.”

“I have a medically complicated child, and public school in person is no longer a safe option…I could salvage my business only if I could rebuild it as one out of my home. I’ve lost two of my three co-workers and I can no longer afford my commercial space.”

Interim CAO Trevor Kushner said the City’s zoning bylaw is “very restrictive” as it relates to home occupations.

“We want to do what we can to make sure that businesses can thrive as much as possible under the circumstances,” Mayor Bob Wells said.

Coun. Wendy Morin motioned for the City to explore options to expand permitted home occupations to include hairdressing, dog grooming, counselling, massage, acupuncture and other such businesses that do not create additional noise and parking challenges. Council will discuss the motion at a future meeting.

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