The City of White Rock is taking action to help businesses affected by COVID-19, approving a number of measures at a special COVID-19 Council meeting on April 27.
City Council approved the extension of a renewal discount for business licence fees for businesses closed due to the pandemic; a rebate for patio licence fees; guidelines for potential patio enclosures on Marine Drive; and a tax interest deferral until Oct. 1.
Business Licence Fees
City Council voted to extend business licence renewal fee discounts for businesses affected by COVID-19 Public Health Orders.
Businesses that are unable to operate, and have their licences expire, during COVID-19 closures can now apply for a business licence and receive the same 10-per-cent renewal discount normally offered when renewing before a business licence expires.
Sidewalk Use Licence Fees
City Council voted to return 2020 sidewalk licence fees that were paid for the months when the patio dining area is unusable. The City will also stop charging those fees during the time sidewalk patios can’t be used due to Public Health Orders.
Businesses that have paid fees for the use of City sidewalks as part of their operation—mostly restaurants and cafés on Marine Drive—will receive a credit on their City account.
City Council voted to move forward with possible “all-season” temporary enclosures for businesses using sidewalk patios on Marine Drive.
The City’s Marine Drive Task Force, which advises Council, recommended a staff report outlining how patio enclosures could be allowed in White Rock to give businesses the option of all-season operations in a protected space outside of their businesses.
The report outlines the main criteria that the City would use to evaluate proposals from businesses. The City will mail a copy of the report, and direction approved by Council, to current sidewalk licence holders and will work with any interested businesses to discuss the requirements.
Property taxes and utilities penalty date deferral
The City of White Rock will confirm at a City Council meeting on May 4 a deferral of the penalty date for property taxes and utilities to Oct. 1, 2020. This deferral will apply to all property classes. This extension of the penalty date will give those who need it up to three months to pay their taxes and utilities without incurring a penalty.
Mayor Darryl Walker
“The COVID-19 crisis has hit many businesses very hard. Help is coming from the federal and provincial governments, and we appreciate that help.
The City of White Rock is doing what we can to ease the burden on local businesses and pave the path toward future success. You have asked for help and we are listening, refunding fees, reducing the costs of licences and advancing the possibility of patio enclosures for all-season dining.
We are also looking at deferring interest on property taxes, a move that will benefit residents and businesses. The City of White Rock is in full support of our businesses and will continue to find ways to make your comeback easier as the time comes to reopen.”