EDITORIAL: Licence logic

Municipalities can do things to help the local economy

Municipalities have their hands tied when it comes to helping businesses in tough times, but there are some cost-efficient ways to at least show they’re interested in making things smoother and more lucrative for the economic lifeblood of our communities.

Stories in the paper today might provide some examples where staff and politicians in towns, cities and regional districts can provide leadership and help for small and large businesses alike in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

If you operate a business that performs work in multiple communities in this area — and that’s pretty common considering it’s all of 10 minutes between Parksville and Qualicum Beach — you need a business licence in each community. Fix a roof in Lantzville or Port Alberni and, if you want to operate legally, you need a business licence issued by those communities too.

It’s cumbersome and expensive and we can see why businesses are likely to, well, not bother with proper licensing.

A plan is in the works to develop a mobile business licence that would make businesses compliant in every community from Duncan north. And, if similar programs in other parts of the province are a guide, the program will not reduce business-licence revenue for municipalities.

So, it will not raise taxes for residents and will not reduce revenue for towns and cities. It seems a no-brainer, and councils really should pass motions enacting this plan as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Island North Film Commission is coming to a town or city or regional district near you, asking for some support. Currently, the commission works hard to bring economy-boosting Hollywood projects to the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, but receives no support — financially or otherwise — from those communities, while other municipalities and regional districts foot the bill. The word “freeloaders” might be harsh, but it comes to mind.

Film projects have poured $80 million in direct economic benefit to the mid and north Island in the last 15 years. The film commission is doing good work and could presumably provide even more economic benefit to our region if it had more support from local governments.

Politicians and staff a the Regional District of Nanaimo, Town of Qualicum Beach and City of Parksville should find a way to better support the film commission.

— Editorial by John Harding