Cutting through red tape

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So far so good in Summerside’s fight against red tape.

The city’s recent bylaw change proposal that will open up new doors and cut red tape for mobile sales operations is so far getting the desired reaction from the business community.

Donnie Gallant, co-owner of the Butcher Block, which has a permanent location on Central Street, but whose business also features a mobile unit – is pleased with the new lack of bureaucratic hassle – or at least he will be. The change will allow the local butcher to expand his business to another location and continue the expansion of services. In this case not just the sale of meat and related products that transpires in his permanent location, but also the mobile restaurant business.

Gallant says it will benefit his operation by keeping business flowing without an annual race to file forms with city administrators. In short, no more two- to three-week wait for application processing. Just a smile and cheque for $500 ($1,000 for non-residents) and he’s out the door for another season of fryin’ and grillin’.

Less red tape is good for everyone (except maybe for the person whose job it is to process the forms) and we’re hoping city brass finds new ways to do the same for other sectors. This change will apply to mobile food units – those that can be moved but will be set up in a location for extended periods of time. There are others, such as handcarts, open air sales, and lunch trucks that travel from place to place throughout the day, etc., that could potentially benefit from similar changes.

Councillor Cory Thomas, chairman of the city’s technical services committee, ought to be pleased. While not alone, it was he who’s been pushing hardest on this one.

At a technical services committee meeting last week, Thomas said businesses with a proven track record ought to be able to continue operation without having to go back to council each year for a licence renewal.

The city is now reviewing the licensing policy that could increase the validity of a licence from one to three years.

Gallant said this year his operation was two to three weeks later than hoped in opening because of existing regulations.

Wisely, council is not giving up monitoring mobile businesses entirely, and there will be stipulations on each licence.

Giving up the ability to revoke a licence is a bad idea, one never knows what can happen.

But these changes look like they will save everyone time, effort and money. And that is good news.



Geographic location: Central Street

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