PORT HAWKESBURY: Town officials here have reduced and revamped the fees charged to mobile food vendors and similar ventures, nearly eight months after town council approved a new vending by-law that left Port Hawkesbury with some of the highest per-capita mobile vending fees east of Toronto.

A unanimous vote at the June 13 regular meeting of Port Hawkesbury Town Council greeted the town’s new Vending Fees Policy, which will be administered as part of the town’s new Vending By-Law. Mobile canteen owners will now be charged $1,400 for a one-year permit, with a $750 fee applying to permits of six months or less and a $200 fee charged for an occasional permit that allows the venture to operate for a maximum of nine days. Under the previous Vending By-Law approved last October, the town charged mobile canteen owners $2,000 for a one-year permit, $1,500 for a six-month permit and $300 for an occasional permit.

Deputy Mayor Trevor Boudreau chaired the portion of last week’s town council meeting that dealt with the Vending Fees Policy, sitting in for Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, who declared a conflict on the issue and removed herself from the discussion. Addressing the new fee structure, Boudreau noted that the new fees represent a more substantial discount between a one-year permit and a six-months-or-less permit.

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“I think there was a concern from council that, with the [previous] seasonal rate of $1,500, there was no discount from the [previous] one-year permit [of $2,000],” Boudreau told last week’s council meeting.

“So the $750 versus $1,400 permit [in the new policy] suggests that, if someone wants it for a full year, they would pay $1,400, whereas the $750 fee would be for the seasonal licenses.”

As well, the town will now charge $100 for a seasonal permit of six months or less for mobile stands or peddle carts, with a fee of $50 available for an occasional permit of less than 10 days, unchanged from the previous Vending By-Law. Also remaining unchanged are flea-market operation fees, which remain steady at $300 for a seasonal permit and $100 for an occasional permit, as well as the fees levied to peddlers and auctioneers, who still face a $100 charge for six months and a $50 fee for one day.

General special event permits – covering such presentations as the Granville Green Concert Series, sports events and concerts – are also available for $50, with the fee applying to the entirety of the event in question.

In the only instance of a fee rising instead of falling or remaining the same, non-mobile stands will be charged $150 per linear meter or portion thereof for one year, $100 for a seasonal rate, and $50 for an occasional permit, in contrast to the previous fee structure’s charging of $30 for a year and $50 for either six months or 10 days.

No public presentations were made in favour of, or opposed to, the Vending Fee Policy when it came to a formal vote at last week’s council meeting in the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre’s Shannon Studio.