Changes in Summerside mobile business licence applauded

Eliminating red tape good for business

Mike Carson
Published on June 16, 2014
Kevin Wile (pictured) and Donnie Gallant, co-owners of the Butcher Block in Summerside, like the city's plan to lessen the regulations surround mobile business licences.
Stephen Brun/Journal Pioneer file photo

SUMMERSIDE – The city’s move to make it easier for mobile sales establishments to do business in Summerside is a move in the right direction, says Donnie Gallant, co-owner of the Butcher Block's Out to Lunch Food Truck.

Councillor Cory Thomas, chairman of the city’s technical services committee, raised the issue several weeks ago in an attempt to reduce red tape and bring new business operations into the city. The issue was brought to the floor of the technical services committee last week.

Thomas wants business with a proven track record to be able to continue operation without having to go back to council each year for a licence renewal. The city’s technical services department is reviewing the licencing policy that could increase the validity of a licence from one to three years.

“It would definitely be beneficial for us,” Gallant said. “This year, we made an assumption that the law was already in place and we had gotten approval last year. But we had to go through the same process again this year, which were a committee meeting and a council meeting. We were two weeks late, maybe three weeks late in opening … because of that.”

Council is not giving up monitoring mobile businesses and will be stipulations on the licence

“Definitely, it’s good for us if they can give us a three-year licence,” Gallant said. “I really like the idea too of the stipulations. I like the idea of the first year you have to go through the process. The second year, as long as there are no complaints against you, you can move into the next phase. I understand that the city wants to keep some control if they’re having a problem with somebody they don’t want them to have blanket coverage for three years. They will have the opportunity to revoke that licence if there were issues, but I think it’s a great idea.”

There was some discussion at the technical services committee level of making the licence application requirement renewable on a yearly basis without having to return to council for approval.

Gallant said, “I would definitely be OK with that, anything that makes it easier for us and easier for council. As Cory said to me, it’s a waste of their time; it’s a waste of our time as long as there are no issues.”

Business would still need the nod from the city’s technical services department but it wouldn’t involve the lengthy time frame that goes along with waiting through a committee and a city council meeting. It is the city’s way of monitoring the performance of the business.

“It’s not about having carte blanche, no free wheeling and dealing but just to make things move a little bit smoother would be good for everyone. Let’s get the thing going and as long as the people of Summerside are happy, let’s move forward. I’m really impressed with the way Summerside has taken on the issue. I know there have been issues in Charlottetown with food trucks and I’m really happy that Summerside has taken a different point of view on that.”