The City of Edmonton has approved a new business licence bylaw it says will reduce barriers for new businesses in the city.
The new bylaw will come into effect in January 2022. It includes better guidance on how people can apply for a business licence, clearer language to help businesses find what they need and an option to get a business licence for two years instead of just one.
The city said the bylaw is one of several improvements underway to help streamline the permitting, licensing and regulatory process.
“A new, modern and robust business licence bylaw helps create the conditions for businesses to thrive and prosper as envisioned by the City Plan,” said Kim Petrin, branch manager of development services.
Lyla Peter with the City of Edmonton added the previous bylaw wasn’t very flexible or adaptable to support new business models.
“As a city, we really do want to work with and support our business environment and we want to make sure that businesses have the ability to thrive in our city,” Peter said.
David Egan is the co-owner of Transit Smokehouse & BBQ. Located in the iconic Transit Hotel on Fort Road, the smokehouse was set to open nine months ago. However, the tables and bar stools remain empty.
Egan said he didn’t realize how many roadblocks he would run into when it came to dealing with the city on things like obtaining permits and licences. Obtaining his business licence alone set back the restaurant’s opening date by four months, he said.
“It became so obstructing to us that we reached a point — several times — that we might just run out of money,” Egan said.
“If we wanted to open up a restaurant in one of the surrounding counties, this entire business licence and permitting process would take a matter of weeks.”
While the new bylaw is too late to help him, Egan is hopeful it will help reduce red tape for fellow business owners, as he patiently awaits the city to approve a permit for his smoker.
“This new bylaw places fixed timelines on the business licence granting process and that has been one of many holdups,” Egan explained.
“It’s felt like we are a few weeks away for the last six months,” he said of the opening date.
Other changes to the bylaw include incentives for businesses that renew their licence on time, a simplified fee schedule and new licence categories.
For more information on the new bylaw, visit the City of Edmonton’s website.
With files from Sarah Komadina, Global News.