City council has given the Business Licence Bylaw it’s final reading.
The bylaw has been discussed for months as to what the additional fee for cannabis retailers should be.
It was decided on Monday that the fee would move from the proposed $750 to $1,500.
“Based on some information and debate that happened between council at the end of the day, the balance of council agreed that it was the right approach to get a little bit more for those businesses at this time so it takes less pressure off of the other taxpayers,” said Coun. Jonathan Torresan.
Torresan noted with the $1,500 fee he does not see it as a deterrent for businesses opening.
“I think those who are going to be opening these businesses are likely going to be making lots of money, and the additional fee that is going to come, that’s going to pay for capital items, and other education and public safety initiatives, I think will be an overall benefit to the community that we implemented this additional fee for now,” he said.
The additional fee collected was raised because of the uncertainty of how much things might cost the city when they have to be implemented, including additional RCMP equipment.
Only Coun. Stephanie Brown Munroe and Coun. Michael Diachuk voted against increasing the fee to $1,500.
“I think in the end every city and municipality will set the amount that’s right for them, and I think at some point in time our city will go back and review those numbers to see if in fact the cost and the challenges are going to be in line with the fees we are charging,” said Diachuk.
As for a potential of raising the additional fees for tobacco, casinos or alcohol, councillors said it was something they could look at in the future.
“We thought it was appropriate to take all those off the table, and only look at the one we absolutely have to deal with right now,” said Torresan. “I’m totally in favour in looking at those other ones, I just didn’t want to muddy the water.”
The business licence fee of $1,500 is in addition to the square footage business licence fee.