PARKSVILLE — Business leaders and politicians say they have eliminated some red tape for local entrepreneurs with the launch of the Mid-Island Inter-Community Business Licence.
Starting Jan.1, businesses can purchase a licence that allows them to legally operate in 12 communities from Duncan to Campbell River.
The 12 participating municipalities in the Mid-Island program are: Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland, Campbell River, Duncan, Lake Cowichan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, North Cowichan, Parksville, Port Alberni, and Qualicum Beach. They have all adopted a common bylaw.
“Up until now, there has been a lot of red tape for businesses,” Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell said during a news conference at a construction site Thursday in her constituency. “This is a helping hand for them.”
Contractors and others who find themselves doing work in, say, Parksville one day and Comox or Port Alberni the next, can now purchase a business licence in their home community and add this new licence for a fee.
To comply with the current bylaws of most communities, businesses must have a licence to operate in each separate community. The price of this supplementary licence has not been released.
“Initiatives like this allow businesses to grow,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business Naomi Yamamoto, a small business owner herself for 20 years. “These businesses can now continue to grow our economy and fill jobs instead of filling out paperwork.”
There are a few wrinkles, questions without current answers from the politicians and business leaders gathered Thursday, regarding the new licences. There are no requirements, for example, for the many small businesses of regional district communities to purchase any kind of business licence.
There were other concerns raised by town and city politicians and others about how cash-strapped municipalities would find the staff and resources to do any enforcement related to non-complying businesses.