Less paperwork equals happy business owners, says officials.
At a District of Squamish Economic Development Standing Committee meeting last week, Coun. Patricia Heintzman suggested municipalities throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor consider issuing regional business licenses. This would allow companies, such as contractors, working throughout the region to hold one paper rather then multiple licences for each jurisdiction.
"I think it is worth exploring ," she told The Chief.
There are a couple of ways to go about setting up such licences, she said. The district could issue specific licences good for the region or make all its business licences applicable throughout the corridor, Heintzman said. Either way, the municipality would have to get Pemberton and Whistler officials onboard, she noted.
The idea was well received by Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Area D director Moe Freitag. Although electoral areas don't require regulatory licences, the Britannia Beach resident holds six business licences for his company, Granite Art Masonry Ltd. At times, he said he feels so frustrated with the multiple processes, that he wants to forgo the paperwork all together.
Heintzman speculated that sentiment is not uncommon. Some people can't be bothered to get the numerous licences, while other don't realize they're required, she noted.
Greater Victoria has such a license program in place, said Greg Goodwin, the executive director of the provincial Economic Development Division's Regional Economic Policy and Projects Branch. Local governments were initially concerned the move would eat into their revenue, he said, noting that's not been the case.
"The evidence has been that the revenue has actually increased," Goodwin said. "It seems to have worked for the communities."
Pemberton mayor Jordan Sturdy suggest the municipalities urge upper levels of government to allow electoral areas to issue business licences. In response, Goodwin told Sea to Sky Corridor officials to take the matter up with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
Heintzman said she will continue to explore regional business licences with other stakeholders.