A public hearing will give the floor to residents to chime in on changes to the city's commercial fee structure tonight.
As part of the core review process, earlier this summer council approved a five per cent increase over three years to business licence fees as well as adding a $155 fee for residential buildings with one or two rental units.
Before any changes to bylaws regulating business are made there has to be an opportunity for public input, which will happen tonight as a public hearing during tonight's council meeting.
Public hearings begin at 7 p.m. in council chambers.
In addition to the core review recommendations, other changes are being made to the Business Regulation and Licensing Bylaw so that they can take advantage of the same public hearing, according to an August report from legislative services director Walter Babicz.
These changes include creating a separate second-hand dealer, pawnbrokers and second-hand dealer business category from other commercial retail businesses and separating scrap metal dealers from the salvage or wrecking yard business category.
The two new categories will reflect the new five per cent increase as well as the yearly fee charged "to implement electronic reporting of all bylaw required transactions for these businesses," said Babicz's report.
The new bylaw will also remove the requirement for a licence holder to be notified in advance of a proposed decision to refuse, suspend or cancel a business licence. The time period for a licencee to request council review such a decision will be shortened from a month to a week.
"It should be noted that prior to taking any action against a business licence, staff will have with with the licensee at least once (possibly numerous times) prior to the notice of a decision being sent by registered mail and hand delivered to the place of business," said public safety and civic facilities director Rob Whitwham in a report to council.
Coun. Garth Frizzell voted in opposition during the Sept. 9 council meeting when the first two readings of the new bylaw were approved.
"I didn't agree with the dramatic take we had on them in the first version of the core review. It's just a case of wanting to look out for small business," said Frizzell.
Parking for sale
A public hearing will also be held tonight on a plan to rezone the city-owned parking lot next to the Seventh Avenue building recently vacated by the Royal Canadian Legion. The owner of the building at 1335 Seventh Ave. has requested to purchase the land from the city in order to renovate and expand the existing building.
A C1: Downtown zoning is proposed for the 437-square metre property currently zoned as major industrial. Two conditions have been placed on the sale: any construction has to be withheld until after the 2015 Canada Winter Games and the property has be to resurveyed and subdivided to exclude the city plaza landscaping along the east property line.
A letter from downtown business owner Chris Hunter expressed opposition to the plan to sell the land before the city has worked out other parking issues.
"Let's not start selling off land before we know how all the pieces fit in; once the city finalizes the parking issue, then bring this proposal back to the public for comment," Hunter wrote in a letter to the planning department.
Council will vote tonight on whether to award a contract worth more than $1 million to Aparc Systems for the supply and installation of paid parking and licence plate recognition equipment. The decision was postponed from the July 22 council meeting in order to have a dedicated information session on the plan and hear from the public at a committee of the whole meeting, held Aug. 28.