Chamber stands up for businesses

THE Derwent Valley Chamber of Commerce has spoken up for businesses following a demand that each pay a $50 “signage fee” to the Derwent Valley Council. Much of the New Norfolk central business district was in uproar earlier this month when a letter was sent out by a council officer instructing shops to lodge retrospective applications for signs which in some cases had been in place for several decades. In explaining the matter in a recent issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette, council general manager Stephen Mackey said some records had been lost in a fire. In the same newspaper, businessman Tony Joyce described the move as a council cash-grab.

The matter was taken up by the Chamber of Commerce, which wrote to the council on behalf of affected businesses. Secretary Mark Bennett said the cost of bringing council files up-to-date was not the responsibility of shopkeepers. “Businesses in the Valley have had a difficult 12 months or more and should not be further encumbered by a $50 fee and an unjustified fee for a title search in order to formalise the signage on their respective establishments,” Mr Bennett said.
The Chamber of Commerce suggests that the council should waive the $50 fee and that cover the cost of any title search if required. “Business owners have already paid for title searches when purchasing their properties in the first place,” Mr Bennett said.

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