Council weighing proposed business licensing bylaw

Town council gave first reading to a new bylaw to licence and regulate businesses, taxis, and trades carried on within the municipality, which was introduced at Monday night’s meeting.
And the proposed Bylaw No. 57/05, which was referred to the Planning and Development executive committee for review and a recommendation, and which eventually will come back to council, contains some significant changes to regulations, said Clerk Glenn Treftlin noted Tuesday.
For instance, Treftlin said the new bylaw will require businesses to get new licences each and every year.
“There a lot of businesses out there right now that are caught in our current bylaw, except that they were required to have only one initial licence,” he noted.
“This bylaw makes all licences good for the calendar year. So then they would have to start coming back and getting their annual licence.
“This will affect a good number of businesses out there. They know who they are,” Treftlin added.
There’s also provisions in the new bylaw for parking lots—something that’s non-existent in the current bylaw.
“For instance, if you do have [a parking lot], there’s provisions for it to be licensed,” said Treftlin. “And the reason for the licensing would be to require certain signage be posted, specifically in situations where a tow truck operator may be called there to remove a vehicle that’s there contrary to the parking laws or whatever.
“We don’t have anything like that right now.
“The implications of this are such that parking lots held by Wal-Mart, Safeway, those larger commercial ones, could fall under this,” he added.
“Another section we’ve got in the draft bylaw is tow trucks. They’re not regulated in our current bylaw,” said Treftlin.
“There’s potential limitations on the fee they can charge, and places they can haul a vehicle to if they’re called upon to remove a vehicle, say, from one of these parking lots,” he noted.
While master electricians are addressed in the town’s current business licensing bylaw, under the proposed one, they’ll now be required to pass an exam set by the Electrical Safety Authority prior to being licensed, Treftlin noted, adding the ESA currently is putting that examination in place.
“There’s a section on peddlers and hockers—people going door-to-door and people that sell things at yard sales, flea markets, that sort of thing. That’s all covered under the new bylaw,” Treftlin added.
Treftlin said there’s even a section that limits the number of yard sales an address can have in a year. Beyond that, they would have to get a licence.
“That might not be too bad a thing. I understand there’s a number of individuals out there who hold almost weekly yard sales,” he noted. “It gets to be a major business.
“There’s only so much stuff you can accumulate in your household that can justify a yard sale.”
Of course, exactly what will stay or not in the proposed bylaw is a political decision and therefore up to council, said Treftlin.
He noted the new bylaw also consolidates all of the town’s current separate business licensing bylaws, so there will be just one document to refer to for all matters of licensing in the Town of Fort Frances.
A full copy of this 40-plus page bylaw will be available on the town’s website at www.fort-frances.com in the near future, said Treftlin, who encouraged all businesses to check it out.
While there was a meeting held Monday for the public to provide input on the bylaw, no one showed up.
Since the proposed bylaw has been referred to the Planning and Development executive committee now, Treftlin said anyone interested in giving their input on the bylaw now can contact Planning and Development superintendent Rick Hallam at the Civic Centre.
Another public meeting will be held in the New Year, when, and if, council decides to proceed with the proposed bylaw and bring it to a vote.
Treftlin noted if council passes the bylaw, it could go into effect retractive to Jan. 1, 2006 or at a later date—it’s up to council.
After the specified date, however, the town would begin to approach businesses regarding conformance to the conditions of the new bylaw.

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