Vernon business owners will no longer need to purchase commercial vehicle licences (CVL) after city councillors voted to eliminate the program during Monday’s regular meeting.
Coun. Kari Gares put the motion forward to halt the program until stakeholders could have some input on how the program could be altered to be beneficial to businesses, bylaw and the city alike, but following several amendments, council agreed to pull the program altogether.
Coun. Gares said she’d been speaking with the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce about the decal that was to be purchased and placed on commercial vehicles parking in the downtown core identifying them as licensed commercial vehicles.
The decals allow for vehicles to use loading zones for up to 20 minutes, stopping in laneways for deliveries and pick ups — with hazards on, and parking at meters without purchasing time.
In the past three years, the CVL program earned $12,900 with a cost in 2020 of $774 to procure the decals, according to the staff report presented by Protective Services manager Geoffrey Gaucher.
The Chamber conducted a quick survey of 24 per cent sample of businesses, Coun. Gares said and she relayed that only one said it was in favour of the program. She also noted several municipalities, including Armstrong, Enderby, Penticton and Kelowna have either already dismantled its programs or are moving in that direction.
Coun. Scott Anderson echoed Coun. Gares sentiments and said this licensing is a “money grab.”
Coun. Gares sought additional information on the potential of tying the commercial vehicle licensing program into the processes of purchasing a business licence, but city staff said that could result in additional costs for business owners.
Meanwhile, Coun. Brian Quiring suggested the city scrap the whole program.
Commercial vehicles can park in loading zones with hazard lights on for 20 minutes without risking a ticket and Coun. Quiring said that should be plenty.
“Just get rid of it,” he said about the program. “It’s a waste of time,”
“Thank you to Vernon council for ending the commercial vehicle license program,” the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce wrote on its Facebook page. “The Chamber provided information on how the program was negatively impacting businesses and council acted.”
Mayor Victor Cumming and Coun. Kelly Fehr voted against the motion to collapse the program. The two were reluctant to vote in favour without having further staff investigation into potential ramifications of cancelling the program.
Business owners must still carry a copy of the business licence in the vehicle while engaging in business activities.