McQUARRIE – Proposed new business fines could spell trouble in River City


WHILE I WATCHED last week’s City Council meeting, I couldn’t help but think of the Broadway play, Music Man.  A story about the arrival of a pool table in conservative small-town America.

How, they ask, can a town’s people and especially the merchants next door to this corrupter of their children, survive the sin that is surely to arrive with this pool hall?

“Friend, either you’re closing your eyes

To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge

Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated

By the presence of a pool table in your community.  

Well, ya got trouble my friend, right here,

I say, trouble right here in River City.”

I half expected City Council and senior staff to break out in this song of community perils while discussing raising the fines for non-complying local business owners from $200 to $10,000.


Bill McQuarrie is a Kamloops entrepreneur. He can be contacted at He tweets @bafflegabbed.


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1 Comment on McQUARRIE – Proposed new business fines could spell trouble in River City

  1. David Johnson // December 12, 2017 at 3:43 PM // Reply

    Well, I get your point Bill, but in my opinion its a bit strong, and the perspective could use a little softening based from the reality of the situation.

    – It isnt a locked in $10k fine only, its broadened from just $200 (seen by non-permitted retailers as a simple cost of doing business), to a range from $200 ‘up to’ $10k. This alone will make these retailers think twice about opening shop if they don’t get a permit. That’s cannabis or any business. As a permit holder yourself, you can appreciate the idea.

    – The landlord bit will make the owner of the building become aware of the activities of their tenants, and ensuring that their business is a permitted operation. As the motion says the idea is to “… level the playing field with the owners of accommodation rentals and operators of property management businesses”, which means this isn’t new, commercial building are just being upped to the standard every other owner faces. You are right, the Loops is very slow on this one, its been done everywhere else. Of course, this impacts all landlord leased business, not just cannabis, and we know that has been needed. As the motion also says, it empowers the commercial landlord to evict non-permitted businesses, something they did not have previously.

    – That’s pretty much it except for the motion for adding retail cannabis sales to the list of provincially or federally regulated industries that have special permitting requirements;
    ‘“Retail Trade” means the provision for retail sale of new or second-hand household or personal goods or merchandise to the end consumer, but especially excludes automobile sales, motorcycle sales, recreational vehicle sales, pawnshops, retail liquor sales, and retail cannabis sales.’
    … which basically means it will operate as alcohol stores do, with special restrictions (proximity to schools, ensure no bunching of pubs or pot stores in the same area, etc).

    Very logical approach considering we don’t yet know the extent on the provincial guidelines that will have to be followed, and that was pointed out in the motions as well. I see all these motions as pre-preparatory steps to get the bylaw ducks in a row before they have to deal with the actual troublesome motions of how to actually follow the legalisation and distribution of a new product on the retail market.

    All that said, I liked your allegory regarding the song, made me chuckle.

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