Nanaimo city council is moving forward on a business-friendly, inter-municipal business licence program with other local governments in the central Vancouver Island area.
Council voted unanimously Monday to direct city staff to prepare a special business license bylaw to enable the city to participate in the scheme, which could come into effect by Jan. 1, 2014.
The idea was promoted at council in February by Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Susan Allen, who said the move would result in less paperwork and red tape for businesses that operate across the region.
If implemented, the program would see the Nanaimo and 12 other municipalities adopt a common transferable business licence geared towards businesses that tend to be mobile, rather than operate at a fixed location, according to a city staff report. Examples include tradespeople, architects and catering companies.
The report says a Nanaimo-based business wanting to participate would pay $165 for a Nanaimo business license, plus obtain a $150 transferable licence that would allow it to operate in any of the participating local governments, instead of having to get a licence from each jurisdiction.
The fee would be the same throughout the entire participating area. A business operating in each area could save roughly $1,500 in fees, Seward said.
The additional licence fees is projected to bring in about $6,000 to $8,000 according to a provincial study, said development director Toby Seward in response to a question from Coun. George Anderson.
Nanaimo staff members met with representatives from the B.C. Small Business Branch and six other municipalities in July to discuss the program. All governments in attendance expressed support for the idea, said Seward. The remaining six municipalities have expressed support as well, he added.
"A number of the smaller municipalities have wanted to see Nanaimo's position on this before moving forward, because of course a lot of the businesses we're talking about who may be pursuing inter-municipal licences are based in Nanaimo. . ." said Seward.
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