Revenue sacrificed for convenience

Business licence crosses city boundaries in the central Vancouver Island area

The city may be sacrificing extra business licence revenue in order to make life easier for mobile businesses.

Council gave final approval to the inter-municipal business licensing model at last week’s Tuesday council meeting.

Under the program, Campbell River area companies who do business in several surrounding communities will no longer have to apply for a business licence in each jurisdiction.

Sara Brodie, the city’s land use services supervisor, said the licence cuts down on the amount of administrative work required of businesses.

“The purpose of the IMBL (inter-municipal business licence) is to allow a company to hold a single licence recognized by all participating municipalities, rather than individually apply for out-of-town business licences in each municipality in which they may operate,” Brodie wrote in a report to council. “The IMBL represents a joint initiative between the Chamber of Commerce and the city to create a more business friendly environment.”

The single $150 licence will enable businesses to be covered in the following communities: Campbell River, Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland, Duncan, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan, Nanaimo, North Cowichan, Parksville, Port Alberni and Qualicum Beach.

Brodie said while the model will make it more convenient for business owners, it will also likely cause the city to lose out on revenue from business operators who don’t live in Campbell River.

“The proposal would be likely to result in the significant reduction of out-of-town business licences,” Brodie wrote. “The city currently has issued 412 of these. At $150 per licence, this would equate to a reduction in business licence revenue of $61,800 if all of these were to become (inter-municipal business licences) issued in other municipalities; although there would clearly be a corresponding decrease in administrative burden.”