Cranbrook opposes home based business changes

Cranbrook's regional district representatives are objecting to proposed new home based business regulations for rural areas.

Cranbrook’s regional district representatives are objecting to proposed new home based business regulations for rural areas.

The Regional District of East Kootenay has been preparing draft regulations for both major and minor home based businesses in rural areas. Those regulations were presented to the board of directors on Friday, March 1 for approval to start the bylaw process.

But four directors were opposed to the draft regulations — all but one municipal director affected by the major business category. Cranbrook’s Mayor Wayne Stetski and Councillor Bob Whetham, Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko, and Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher all said their communities could be negatively affected if the regulations go ahead as drafted.

If the regulations are approved as proposed, there will be two categories of home based business, depending on where the home is located. Minor home based business — such as child care, a hobby sawmill or a bed and breakfast — will be allowed throughout the region, but major home based business — a portable sawmill, woodworking business, trade contracting or metal working — would only be permitted in parts of Area A (around Fernie), and all of Area C (around Cranbrook).

Businesses in the regional district outside of municipalities are not required to have a business licence, but zoning and land use bylaws regulate things like the number of employees, the maximum business area, the number of commercial vehicles and what retail products are available for sale.

The major home based business category is the one causing concern for Cranbrook, with Mayor Stetski pointing out that allowing industrial uses outside city limits could have negative impacts on Cranbrook.

“I think there’s some value in trying to accommodate and legitimize existing businesses but we’re opening up a new future with more industry going outside of our communities and that I think is a risk,” he said.

“We had a lot of discussion … about the potential negative impact on those communities that are trying to build an industrial base within their boundaries to benefit their citizens both in terms of taxes and services,” he went on.

Councillor Whetham said that allowing businesses to move outside town where they won’t be subject to the same taxes creates an inequitable situation.

“It becomes an incentive to move small businesses out of the rural areas. I don’t think that’s really the intent,” he said.

“I think this is opening up an inequitable situation in terms of locating industry out in the rural areas.”

Board Chair and Area C Director Rob Gay reminded the directors that they would go through a lengthy public process over the regulations which would provide more chance to revise the regulations. But, he said, the intention is to accommodate industrial businesses that already exist outside city limits.

“I’d prefer major businesses move into the industrial area of the city. But it’s the sign writers, the woodworkers … there are so many other things that I know are going on in the rural area that we are trying to recognise,” said Chair Gay.

Directors Heath Slee and Gerry Taft both insisted the regional district should be supporting small businesses whenever it can.

“On this issue I’d rather take a bigger view that enabling some of these people to stay in the region or enabling some of the people to start a business is better for everybody even if in the initial stages the municipality isn’t getting their … commercial tax,” said Taft, Mayor of Invermere.

Director Slee (Area B) said small businesses are very important for rural areas.

“We don’t want to jeopardize any of these small businesses that are willing to operate in our rural areas. Once you lose your school and your post office, it’s the small businesses that bind our rural communities together,” he said.

The regional district board voted to proceed through the bylaw process on the regulations, which will likely come back for first reading in a month before going to the public consultation stage.

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read