Sunday, January 17, 2016

Red Tape or Mistake?

Here's the official definition of red-tape : a series of actions or complicated tasks that seem unnecessary but that a government or organization requires you to do in order to get or do something.

Tomorrow begins Red Tape Awareness Week.  It has been officially recognized by our premiere.
There are two things negatively affecting home based-businesses in Nova Scotia.  The first is not actually red-tape.  It is a mistake. 

Many municipalities  have zones that  are exclusively residential.  No new commercial businesses are permitted.   Some small businesses are permitted by bylaw within homes and they are considered part of the main residential use.  Remember, they can't be commercial because that is against the zoning laws of these municipalities.   These types of bylaws are not new.  They have been with us for decades.  They have already been checked by lawyers at Municipal Affairs to ensure there are no conflicts.  So, if a municipality applies commercial building code to a residential occupancy, they made an error.  Simple. Or at least it should be simple. That is not red tape. That's a mistake.

An error has been pointed out and the municipality has been asked by a citizen to follow its own laws.   Instead of just fixing the error, they create a long bureaucratic process.  Something simple has been made complicated.  Now we have red tape.

The province of Nova Scotia is now also a part of the red-tape problem.  They could simply clarify the mistake by speaking with the experts in Halifax and home-based businesses could get on with this growth thing we apparently need in Nova Scotia.  But, instead of just clarifying an error, the province is taking an endless amount of time to study this issue.  Unnecessary bureaucracy.  That part is also red tape.

Let's make sure, though, that we understand that what is at the heart of this issue is a mistake and the refusal to acknowledge it.   Fixing this will require a leader.  Someone strong enough to say, enough - a mistake was made, let's fix it and get on with business.  Wouldn't it be grand to see this happen on Red Tape Awareness Week?

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