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Okanagan municipality waives business license fees amid pandemic

The District of Summerland is waiving business license fees for 2021 amid the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic. Global News

The District of Summerland and the Summerland Chamber of Commerce are taking extra steps in supporting local businesses amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district has decided to waive business license fees for 2021.

The decision to waive the fees was made at a district council meeting on January 11.

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“Council recognizes the challenges that local businesses have experienced during the ongoing pandemic,” said Summerland mayor Toni Boot.

The measure comes after a number of other initiatives were implemented last year.

“In 2020, we amended the budget to decrease the water rates for the months of July and August, waive late payment penalties and delay property tax payments,” Boot said.

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“We also reduced agricultural water rates by 25 per cent for the entire growing season. This year, the district is waiving business license fees for Summerland business owners and reverting agricultural rates to 2020 pre-COVID rates.”

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Letters have been mailed out to all existing business license holders in the district advising of the fee waiver.

In a news release issued Thursday morning, the district stated that all new and existing businesses are still required to conform to the district’s business licensing bylaw and must maintain a valid business license for the 2021 calendar year.

In related news, the Summerland Chamber of Commerce is proposing a no-fee courtesy membership for 2021 to help support the business community.

Read more: More than 200K small businesses could close permanently amid pandemic: CFIB

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“The chamber is building a new team with two primary objectives: Build a robust level of services to support its members and Summerland’s economy,” said Ron Kubek, president of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.

“And develop a revitalized tourism brand that appeals to locals right now and is ready to deliver a vibrant story to visitors as soon as travel is safer.”

Chamber plans include a new website, a tourism development strategy, and value-added services such as training, webinars, and co-marketing options with potential partners.

Business license fees vary depending on the type of business being operated.

Last year, the district collected around $150,000 in business license fee revenue.

Click here for more information on Summerland’s business licensing bylaw.

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