SUMMERSIDE – City council will not be dealing with a transient trader bylaw when it meets later this month.
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Councillor Cory Thomas, chairman of the city's technical services committee
Council’s technical services committee followed a recommendation made by the technical services department staff Tuesday night, not to proceed with a bylaw that would charge non-taxpaying businesses a licensing fee to operate within municipal boundaries.
“Technical services staff recommend not proceeding with a transient trader bylaw at this time,” said Councillor Cory Thomas, chairman of the technical services committee. “Our review indicates that this is not an issue in other municipalities and the number of licences requested appears to be very low. We recommend continuation of monitoring of complaints and further review as necessary,” he said reading from the staff report.
The city has received complaints from local business operators that by allowing outside merchants to come to Summerside, set up shop for a short period of time and go into direct competition with established, taxpaying businesses, is unfair.
Councillor Peter Holman said the city already has a fee schedule for food vendors who wish to operate on a temporary basis in Summerside. The fee is $500 if the business owns property in Summerside and $1,000 for everyone else.
Holman said this could create a more level playing field for local businesses.
Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart said the complaints he has heard were from people concerned about the fees charged by the city for commercial space at Credit Union Place.
Thomas, said there is a petition regarding that issue being circulated around the city.
Members of the committee said they would not establish a citywide transient trader bylaw but would look into the fees charged at municipally owned property, such as Credit Union Place.
The consensus among the committee was that the city should only regulate the fee structure at their own properties and investigate the options of adding an additional tax on rentals to out of town, non-taxpaying businesses looking to rent space.
Thomas said the city should not infringe on the rights of the private sector to rent out space to transient traders if they wish to do so.
He said this could be looked at as government encroachment into the private sector.
The technical services committee has forwarded the issue to city council’s community services committee for review.
This committee will review the fee structure charged at Credit Union Place and come back to city council with a recommendation.