Pembroke hopes to become more business friendly 0
Keeping track of who does what in Pembroke's business sector has always been tricky, as the city never required new businesses to let them know when they are setting up shop.
During the economic development committee meeting, it was suggested the municipality set up a business registry, and require all new businesses to sign up.
Susan Ellis, economic development, recreation and tourism manager, said the lack of this list has meant the city simply doesn't know how many businesses are opening and/or closing within their boundaries.
"The only exception to this is the 'Hawkers and Peddlers,' who must get a permit to operate within the city," she said.
Ms. Ellis stated many other municipalities have encountered the same problem of not knowing their local businesses, and have begin to require them to register. Petawawa, for example, has recently implemented one.
"There will be no fee required to do this," she said, but any new businesses deciding to settle here would have to register formally with City Hall.
The benefits of a registry are numerous, and include ensuring all businesses conform to the Zoning Bylaw and Official Plan; all building permits and inspections are up to date as required by the building department; the fire department is made aware of any new business and is thus able to then schedule safety inspections; up to date market information about Pembroke's business economy can be established and maintained; signs can be made to confirm to the signage bylaw; home occupations will become part of the business landscape, and; businesses, once registered, will have their information listed on the on-line business directory, becoming accessible to anyone seeing particular products or services.
Any existing businesses will also be included in this registry, Ms. Ellis said. This summer, a youth intern will be hired to track down all existing businesses to either register them, or ensure the information the city has on them is up to date.
Council members approved of the idea, which will go before council for approval.
Mayor Ed Jacyno said he thinks a business registry is a great tool, and will show people the municipality is business friendly
Coun. Gary Severin also agreed with the proposal.
"I think it is an excellent idea," he said, "and a real opportunity for new businesses to become known in our community."
Coun. Bob Hackett said the registry will work well, especially if the city uses the opportunity to also hand out information on city services and programs, such as the heritage facade improvement program, which gives out grants to downtown businesses which qualify to fix up the front of their buildings.
"This will work hand-in-hand with us handing out a welcome package to incoming businesses," he said, rather than have them struggle to find out all of that information on their own.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist