Ladysmith and North Cowichan part of new Mid-Island Inter-Community Business Licence

Starting Jan. 1, businesses can purchase a licence that allows them to operate in 12 Mid-Island communities.

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.

“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.

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.

The 12 participating municipalities in the Mid-Island program are: Campbell River, Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland, Duncan, Lake Cowichan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, North Cowichan, Parksville, Port Alberni, and Qualicum Beach. They have all adopted a common bylaw.

According to a provincial government new release, there are now 10 mobile business licence agreements throughout the province, involving  69 communities. The provincial government says B.C. is one of the first provinces to have such a  program.

— John Harding (Parksville Qualicum Beach News)