Lake Cowichan joins multi-community push to streamline business licences

n.1, businesses can purchase a licence that allows them to legally operate in Lake Cowichan and 11 other communities

  • Jan. 8, 2014 1:00 p.m.

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 Lake Cowichan and 11 other 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 Lake Cowichan the next, can now purchase a business licence in their home community and add this new licence for a fee. Without it, businesses must have a licence to operate in each separate community. The price of this supplementary licence has not been released.

“Initiatives like this allow businesses to grow,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business Naomi Yamamoto, a small business owner herself for 20 years. “These businesses can now continue to grow our economy and fill jobs instead of filling out paperwork.”

Rob McGorman, the owner of Bayshore Construction in Parksville, took to the podium to explain what the changes mean for his business.

“We have projects scattered throughout Central Vancouver Island so we are thrilled about (the new licence),” said McGorman. “It will save us time and money and support the future success of our business.”

There remain no requirements, for example, for small businesses of regional district communities to purchase any kind of business licence.

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 in Canada to have such a  program.