Skip to content

CBT looks at business registry changes

The Town of Canmore’s business registry may undergo significant changes in the near future as officials look to it as a way to fund economic development for the community.

The Town of Canmore’s business registry may undergo significant changes in the near future as officials look to it as a way to fund economic development for the community.

Canmore council voted earlier this month to have Canmore Business and Tourism engage the community on changes to the business licence fee schedule for 2015.

Andrew Nickerson, CBT president and CEO, said the process will look at amounts collected and how they are collected, for example, to better understand in the long term how licence fees go towards economic development initiatives. Currently, CBT is contracted to do economic development for the municipality and receives funds from the business registry to do that work.

“We are looking at a new way of approaching the economic development contract,” Nickerson said. “We want everything to be based on long-term economic targets, so rather than just simply saying we are looking to do economic development, what we want to be doing is aligning everything against very clear measurable goals into the future.”

When it comes to the local economy, he said CBT has defined it into five specific areas: growth, balance, affordability, authenticity and ease of doing business.

“For each of those, we set up specific goals and the next question comes to how that gets funded and so what we are doing is evaluating the business registry as a potential mechanism to deliver the funding that is required as opposed to it being from general revenues or general taxes,” Nickerson said.

He said at this time there is no finite answer of what a revamped business licence registry would look like to better fund economic development, but CBT is starting by engaging the business community as well as its own membership fees for Tourism Canmore Kananaskis.

“We want to be coming back to council, probably in October, and have at that stage been doing work needed with business groups and have a firm recommendation that would both work in terms of a better solution for funding economic development and something that works for businesses,” Nickerson said.

Mayor John Borrowman said council supports CBT engaging the business community to find out what support there is for changing the business licence registry to improve economic development.

“It is not something the Town of Canmore has the resources or has the direction to do on our own at this point,” he said. “Economic development is a mixed bag; it isn’t entirely tourism related. “We are doing a lot of work this year with CBT to define and understand business economic diversification and look at ways of building the other sectors that we know are operating in Canmore over and above the pure tourism sector.”

According to a staff report to council, as part of this larger review, CBT is considering an increase in total collections to $350,000-$550,000 from the current $280,000, with increases based on the potential increased value to each sector.

At its July 2 meeting, council also approved changes to the business registry to allow out of town businesses to purchase temporary licences. Before the change there was no opportunity for non-resident businesses only in the community for a short period to purchase a temporary licence; instead they would have to pay $500 to be compliant with the bylaw.

With the changes there is now a three-day, non-resident fee of $75, a one-month, non-resident fee of $150 and a four-month fee of $350. Borrowman said the changes were a result of concerns heard from the wedding industry in Canmore.

“They were concerned, of course, because they are obliged to buy and pay for a business licence to operate as a business in Canmore and businesses from outside Canmore would be coming in and, for example, doing things like wedding photography and not buying a business licence,” he said. “We are making it as easy as possible for out of town businesses to comply with our regulations, that was the intent of the motion and I think it will show some success.”

Borrowman said the municipality is also trying to set up a system to purchase the temporary licences to be as easy as possible for out of town businesses to access, either online or at the visitor information centre.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

About the Author: Rocky Mountain Outlook

The Rocky Mountain Outlook is Bow Valley's No. 1 source for local news and events.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks