Each week, we ask municipal council candidates an important question

How can council support small business and entrepreneurship in the community?

Leslie Adams

Lifestyle attracts people to Golden and community amenities keep them here. If businesses and entrepreneurs can make money and hire good staff, then they will stay and thrive.

The community must have good municipal infrastructure, including water, sewer, roads, and recreational facilities that are healthy and affordable. Council should have good financial plans and asset management principles so they can afford to keep things in good repair.

Council can advocate for improvements in infrastructure by lobbying the federal and provincial governments for grants and funding opportunities. In addition, Council can also petition corporations and other entities for additional amenities such as faster internet.

The municipality can support entrepreneurship by ensuring that our community has bylaws and policies that are easy to navigate, zoning that is sensible, and costs that are not overly restrictive.

Overall, I think the best way that a town council can support small business and entrepreneurship in our community is to make this the best place to work, live, raise families, and grow old.

When small businesses can make a living wage and employ people, it benefits the whole community. Let’s shop locally whenever possible and support these entrepreneurs.

Connie Barlow

As elected leaders we recognize that small business and innovative entrepreneurs are integral to the sustainability and proliferation of the culture and lifestyle our residents value.

Council must ensure that the leadership, communication and regulatory practices designed to support business are effective and practical.

We can build policies and regulatory framework that supports business development, retention and expansion and does not create hurdles. We can listen to business people and we can move their ideas, thoughts and conversation into policy discussions.

We can be fair to business when setting taxation rates.

We can improve how we communicate our development and regulatory processes. We can ensure adequate, accessible, informed staff are working within municipal government to streamline the process for business people.

We can use media and technology to get information and our story out to the public. We can look at making our website easier to navigate and utilize.

Council can commit to reopening discussion with the Area A Director to address the prospect of an economic development entity that would provide support to businesses in both local municipalities.

We can encourage our constituents to vote – to elect a diverse Council – including representation from small business.

Jim de Bolebec

On this question I feel like an outsider looking in as I am one of two candidates that is not an incumbent. Therefore, I do not know what Council is currently doing to try and improve the business climate. Any new business that wants to establish in Golden or existing business that want to expand must be confident that the approval process is fair, transparent and timely.

In this past week I have discussed the issue well campaigning. The Town has lowered the tax rate in 2018 which will help in overhead costs for established businesses, but what about those trying to get started?

One issue is the timelines of the approval process in granting permits. There is always room for improvement while still maintaining the standards of the Town and Provincial Regulations.

One suggestion is the development of a flow chart displaying expected time lines for approvals. Another is to establish a Board of business members and Council that meet on a regular basis to discuss what both sides feel would improve the process.

It is important that the Council work to attract new business and support existing business such that the town can prosper.

Chris Hambruch

By ensuring the Town regulations support entrepreneurs. They need to be easily understood and consistently applied. A regulatory environment that supports entrepreneurship includes timely licensing process, timely business premises inspection and zoning that is supportive of business. Council must remain open to new ideas and supportive of staff to have a “can do” attitude towards new ideas.

Local governments in BC are “a child” of the Provincial government and are governed by the Community Charter. The Charter is very prescriptive regarding local government providing support to business. One role Council can take is in advocacy to changes to the Community Charter that would help local government support for local business.

One action we have taken is to have a conversation with BC Assessment to split Class 6 properties, Business, that could allow a varying tax rate within this class. If enacted this could provide local government the ability to favour smaller businesses with a lower tax rate.

Eddie Leigan

This question was asked at the all candidates forum last week so I will reiterate what I said there. I believe this needs to be on our list of strategic priorities, it sounds cliché since we hear upper levels of government say this all the time, however we need to work on red tape reduction and making Golden truly open for business.

I believe we need straight forward guides for development and business start ups that don’t leave anything to be a surprise. The best this we can do as local government is to find every way to be there to help, not hinder the process. We need to be ready to support development and business start ups. We don’t need to get rid of the rules; we just need them to be straight forward, easy to understand with no surprises. Golden’s local government needs be there to support and provide assistance, not be discouraging

I also think we need to work on our out-dated development permit process, this process currently makes to many road blocks for development and our process should be adapted to fit our modern day reality. Basically, make the process easy and business will come.

John Manuel

Council creates a foundation for sucesfull businesses by making sure we have good roads, clean water, an efficient sewage treatment system and strong dykes to protect the town. In addition the town must administer bylaws and the development process in ways that are fair, consistent, predictable and don’t take longer than necessary.These are ways that the town provides an environment that supports business.

Of course council is only 6 councilors and the mayor. They don’t know everything and they don’t have all of the good ideas but they can listen to business concerns and suggestions. Our chamber of commerce has more than 200 members and links to other chambers throughout BC. They know business and their focus is business. When they become aware of a way that council can better support business in town, a way that is both affordable and practical, council should listen.

However I think what most businesses are looking for from council is a stable, well run town. They will take it from there.

Caleb Moss

Small business and the creative entrepreneur class really and truly are the lifeblood of small communities. They are what provide us not only with essential goods and services, but also are what make each place unique unto itself. As the owner of Bacchus Books and Café and the senior partner of Strategic Leadership Solutions, I am fully versed in both the rewards and challenges inherent when starting and growing small business. Town council’s fundamental role is to provide the resources to create the built environment which said businesses depend on to thrive. Direct help to business is not allowed by provincial legislation. That being said, during my past decade on council I have successfully worked to keep our commercial tax rate well balanced, our development cost charges the lowest in the region, and instituted buy local policies. We created a council liaison position with the Chamber of Commerce, continue to focus on critical infrastructure renewal, while investing in the aesthetic and recreational foundations imperative to a resort municipality. As Golden continues to grow and evolve, my experience in both business and policy setting remains invaluable around the council table.

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