Council looks at integrated business licenses

Cranbrook/Kimberley working on bylaws to allow businesses to operate in both cities with only one business license.

Cranbrook and Kimberley are partnering up to issue inter-community business licenses (ICBL) that will allow local businesses to be compliant and operate in both cities.

Cranbrook brought up the issue on Monday’s regular council meeting, while Kimberley is planning to mirror a similar bylaw at an upcoming council meeting.

The move is aimed towards trades, contractors and other mobile businesses that operate outside of a home community, according to Cranbrook mayor Lee Pratt.

“The big reason for it, is there’s a lot of businesses that do business in Kimberley,” said Pratt, “and they don’t have a business licence and they feel like they’re sneaking around and not compliant and vice versa with the Kimberley guys coming to Cranbrook.

“So we just felt the two communities working together that it’d be much simpler if we had that in place where if you have a business license in Kimberley and you’re doing business in Cranbrook, you can apply for an inter-community [license] at a reduced rate.

“Basically it gives them more of a comfort feeling that they’re compliant with what they should be doing.”

Currently, there are 66 local businesses that hold business licenses in both Cranbrook and Kimberley. The ICBL would be an additional $75 fee on top of a regular business license fee.

It is not an unfamiliar concept, as there is an existing ICBL partnership in the West Kootenay between Trail, Rossland, Warfield, Fruitvale and Montrose. Across B.C., there are 11 ICBL partnerships with 81 participating local governments.

Cranbrook will still be able to dictate what products and services businesses can and can’t offer within the city, even if they are based in Kimberley, according to Pratt, who used medical marijuana facilities as an example.

“That’s our stance as the City of Cranbrook; they’re illegal, we’re not going to license them,” Pratt said. “Kimberley chose to go the other way, that’s their perogative, but we’re not.”

According to a staff report, the province has heard from the 11 participating communities with an ICBL partnership that licensing compliance is up, while administrative costs and processing have been reduced.

The Cranbrook and Kimberley chambers of commerce have endorsed the ICBL, while the city adds that another municipality is interested in joining the ICBL partnership.

The matter will come back before council on Oct. 24, 2016.