Sylvan Lake’s business licensing bylaw was finally approved by councillors who unanimously supported second reading of the bylaw but were divided when third reading was called at their Apr. 22 meeting.
Councillors Sean McIntyre and Dale Plante voted against third reading which passed with support of the rest of council. Councillor Ken MacVicar was absent from the meeting.
McIntyre argued that councillors should postpone the final vote for three weeks to “allow everybody to have a long look at it before we put it in place”.
Following a public hearing Apr. 8, council directed the removal of all applicable sections and schedules pertaining to allowance of mobile vendors operating on public land, prohibited them operating north of the tracks (unless participating in a special event approved by the town) and amended a section of the bylaw dealing with buskers to allow them to sell products “that are an original production of the busker relating to their performance” and use amplification equipment for busking.
Plante noted the license inspector has the ability to establish hours of operation for buskers and asked if it that was wide open.
Rae Anne Ornella, who presented the changes, told him it was totally discretionary but that they would work with municipal enforcement to establish acceptable hours.
Plante also asked if there were specific locations for buskers to operate and was told that’s also at the discretion of the license inspector. She suggested they’d likely be in Centennial Park and that it is possible to limit the number of buskers in specific locations.
“We may want to identify the areas in the downtown core suitable for busking,” said Plante.
McIntyre added, he’d like to see a policy stating hours and also locations. “I think there are appropriate places along 50th Street for buskers, on the north side of Lakeshore Drive west of Centennial Park.”
“I’d like council to consider this is new to us, we don’t know what type of buskers will come or where they want to be,” said Mayor Susan Samson. “I suspect on the lakefront, but I’d like council to consider leaving it open to the discretion of the development authority for the summer.” Then she suggested a review in the fall of the good things that happen and things they can improve.
“I think we have a real opportunity here, I know staff have the best interests of the area. We don’t know what buskers want to do yet, my preference it to revisit this at the end of September.”
Councillor Graham Parsons agreed with her.
McIntyre countered, “if we can articulate our vision that gives staff an idea how to proceed.” And Plante added, “I’d like to see us be the ones who steer it.”
Samson then stated, “What I’ve heard around the table is let it have some wings and grow, then come back to us.”