Banff considers business bylaw
Published Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5:41PM MDT
Banff Town Council gave first reading to a new franchise quota bylaw and may limit the number of chain stores operating within its boundaries.
Suzanne Gilles-Smith owns the Banff Teahouse and says shops like hers are what give the town its character and keep the tourists coming back.
“People travel because they want to get the experience outside of what they have. When they come here we need to offer them something new,” said Gilles-Smith
Banff has some of the most expensive commercial rents in the country and Gilles-Smith says that is due in large part to the presence of the corporate chains.
“The landlords they just wait they say the price is x amount of dollars and I’m sorry you can't afford it, we’re going to wait for the chain store that comes along that can afford it. We’re going to wait for them and then we’ll rent to them.”
The issue is not new and last November, council voted down an all out ban on new chain stores.
On Monday, council changed its tune and gave first reading to a new bylaw that would put chain quotas in place.
“It's not an elimination of or a regulation against the formula based businesses but the suggestion that we evaluate where we stand today with formula based businesses and what we want to look like in the future,” said Banff Mayor Karen Sorenson.
Currently, Banff’s businesses are 75% locally owned and 25% is shared among non-local and corporate ownership.
But those numbers can be deceiving because franchises can be owned by a local so corporate chains aren't always obvious.
The mayor says the public will be consulted before the second reading of the bylaw.