From community events to short term rentals and realities about opioids, housing affordability and homelessness, as well as film crews and a cultural hub proposal, there was no shortage of news in Agassiz, Harrison, and surrounding communities this year. In the days leading up to New Year 2020, the Observer is taking a look back at some of these headlines and more.
There will be no more mobile vendors on Harrison beach, after council approved changes to Harrison’s business licence bylaw on April 15.
The changes — which included banning buskers, pop-up shops and mobile vendors from the village — were first discussed at the council meeting on April 1. There, mobile vendor Nolan Irwin pleaded his case on why he should be allowed to continue working on the beachfront.
At the April 15 meeting, councillor Gerry Palmer tried to make an amendment that would allow Irwin’s cart to be grandfathered into the bylaw.
“I still feel strongly that those businesses that are paying taxes, either directly or through their rent, not find their business taken from them through the prime months by mobile vendors,” he said. “There’s one mobile vendor who had a licence last year, this will effectively remove his ability to do that. And I have entertained the thought of going ahead with the changes we have and adding a clause that will simply grandfather somebody who qualified last year.”
That proved difficult, as the mobile vending licence was only available to brick-and-mortar businesses in Harrison, and the restaurant Irwin partnered with had gone out of business. Palmer’s suggested wording of grandfathering in any “sub-holders” to the mobile vending licence wasn’t accepted by staff, as the term sub-holder isn’t defined in any of the village’s bylaws.
Eventually, CAO Madeline McDonald also added that current businesses were not happy with having a mobile vendor on the beach.
“Although I’ve tried to refrain from making this comment at a public meeting, it should be stated that in the interest of fairness, council should know that certainly we’ve had complaints about the one mobile vendor from the existing business licence holders,” she said. “Not that it’s a behavioural thing, but simply on the basis of competition.”
Council passed the bylaw, with Palmer opposed.