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Chilliwack Chamber exec says mobile business licence a ‘win-win’

Chilliwack is looking at joining an inter-municipal business licence program with five other Fraser Valley communities.

The licence would save local businesses the cost and aggravation of buying several licences in order to operate in each of the participating municipalities.

And in the Okanagan, where a pilot program has been underway since 2008, each of the 19 municipal partners has reported increased revenues — and increased compliance.

“It’s been a win-win everywhere,” Patti MacAhonic, Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce executive director, said after making a formal presentation to city council Tuesday.

She said residents also benefit from the “mobile licence” because they can call on businesses outside the community for services that may not be available locally.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the mobile licence program is actually “harmonizing” what is already happening as more businesses are doing business in several jurisdictions.

The mayor said one point of concern is that some businesses may not be aware of variations in bylaw regulations between municipalities.

For instance, landscapers may not be aware that some pesticides are banned in certain jurisdictions, but not in others, she said.

MacAhonic agreed there’s going to be some work needed in that regard.

But a meeting of all five prospective municipal partners in the Fraser Valley will be held soon in Langley, where such issues will be discussed, she said.

“Communication – that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

The five prospective partners are Abbotsford, Langley, Mission, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

Chilliwack councillors approved a motion to send the Chamber’s presentation to staff for further study.

In the Okanagan region, municipal partners in the pilot program there saw a total $205,251 increase in revenues from the sale of business licences in 2008.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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