FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2012
HALIFAX – Frustration around red tape, commercial taxes and City Hall’s lack of understanding about small business is running high among Halifax’s restaurant community as election day approaches.
According to a new survey by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) of Halifax Regional Municipality restaurant owners, nine out of 10 respondents say reducing red tape and commercial tax rates and assessments are important to their business – making them the top election issues for the city’s restaurant community.
Fewer than two in 10 respondents believe City Hall understands the contribution of the restaurant industry to the city’s economy, culture and vibrancy. Eight in 10 say they do not receive value for their taxes.
“We heard from restaurant owners who have invested their life savings into opening a new business in HRM, only to be abandoned by City Hall,” says CRFA Vice-President Atlantic Luc Erjavec. “Our local government is working against restaurant owners, instead of creating conditions for success. This is a wake-up call. If you want a vibrant city, you need a vibrant restaurant sector.”
The survey also shows 32 per cent of respondents scaled back on expansion plans and 31 per cent scaled back on renovations, due to a combination of the economy and bureaucratic red tape – translating into the loss of thousands of potential jobs in HRM.
Survey respondents expressed frustration on several fronts, including:
- the time-consuming process to obtain operating licences and building permits;
- lack of leadership at City Hall; and
- the condition of streetscapes, and general cleanliness and appearance of the city.
“Our message to candidates in this municipal election is to treat the restaurant industry as a partner in HRM’s success,” says Erjavec. “Work with us, not against us.”
CRFA is one of Canada’s largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Nova Scotia’s 2,000 restaurants, caterers and bars generate $1.6 billion in annual revenue, and employ nearly 30,000 people.