Vernon to scrap little known commercial vehicle licence called 'money grab' by one councillor | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon to scrap little known commercial vehicle licence called 'money grab' by one councillor

A City of Vernon parking ticket is pictured in this file photo.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
January 29, 2020 - 4:45 PM

A little over three years after the issue was first brought to the table, the City of Vernon has decided to scrap a bylaw most people have never heard of.

At the City's Jan. 27 meeting, councillors voted in favour of scrapping the commercial vehicle licence program, a scheme for drivers of commercial vehicles that generates roughly $12,000 a year.

The City also brought in more money from the program in fines issued to business owners if they broke the bylaw, even unknowingly, as managing editor Marshall Jones begrudgingly found out (and wrote about) several years ago. The idea to scrap the program was discussed in 2016, with a staff recommendation to cut down in some aspects of its enforcement.

The licence cost businesses $25 to $40 per year depending on the weight of a vehicle and was needed even if a vehicle just had a logo painted on its side. Businesses had to pay another $60 for vehicles to unload and load at parking meters.

The motion put on the table by Councillor Kari Gares asked for the City to put a halt on the program and consult stakeholders in a review. Gares said Salmon Arm and Penticton had already scrapped their commercial vehicle licences and Armstrong and Enderby were in the process of doing so.

Councillor Brian Quiring was clear on what he thought of the bylaw.

"Get rid of the whole program," Quiring said. "It's a waste of time."

Gares agreed, amending her motion to scrap the program without stakeholder feedback.

Councillor Scott Anderson agreed.

"We need to cut red tape," he said. "This is low hanging fruit, it's a money grab."

Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming wanted staff to come back to the table in two weeks with a report outlining whether there would be ramifications on scrapping the program. Councillor Kelly Fehr supported the mayor's proposal.

However, some councillors said City staff were too busy to compile a report and it would be an unnecessary use of their time.

The motion to scrap the commercial vehicle licence ultimately passed.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce put out a statement Jan. 28 supporting the measure.

"We appreciate council's willingness to listen to the Chamber and the concerns from business and to act quickly and decisively," Chamber general manager Dione Chambers said in the release.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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