Conversation was spicy at the Tuesday night council meeting in Salmo, before business license bylaw 645, was given a third reading.
Before the regular council meeting, the table was open to discussion at the Committee of the Whole, giving business owners the opportunity to state their concerns regarding the granting of a business license for mobile vendors to operate on the village streets.
“I’ve had a café in Salmo for eight years,” said Lamiah Arnold-Trower, owner of the Dragonfly Café.
“I pay huge taxes, insurance and mortgage, and it is a challenge to stay open in the winter.”
“It isn’t fair to give someone the license to pull up across the street from me and then drive away when it’s not busy,” she said.
Bylaw 645 restricts mobile vendors to operate only on private property and not within 50 meters of existing businesses.
Currently, a mobile vendor pays $250 a year.
“My payroll alone is upwards of $100,000 a year, and for $20.83 a month, a person can run the truck all by himself,” explained Arnold-Trower.
Blair Peel, owner of PlanB Custom Catering and Confusion Taco vending truck, currently parks on commercially zoned private property to service his customers; but would like to move his truck onto a street in Salmo.
“I was just trying to move the bylaw so I can occupy some space on the street and create more income through the village based on square footage,” explained Peel. “And I was just trying to get some more vendors to come into Salmo if they wanted. This bylaw only allows two spaces in Salmo to be occupied with the owner’s permission.”
The residents and business owners in Salmo voiced their concerns regarding the bylaw at a previous public meeting.
“As far as I am concerned, I will vote with what appears to be the preference of the majority,” said Coun. Merle Hanson.
Coun. Bob Vliet said that the village needs someone to come forward and make an attempt to find a place for (mobile) vendors to set up, and then the bylaw can be revisited at a later date.
“That’s what I have been saying all along,” said Mayor Ann Henderson. “If someone would champion this, we can always amend the bylaw later on. But until somebody brings us a proposal, I am afraid there isn’t time to change this.”
The bylaw will be on the agenda for possible final adoption on April 9th.