A Kelowna business owner has won a legal battle against the City of Kelowna over a business license.
The BC Supreme Court deemed city business licence manager Greg Wise’s decision to refuse to renew a business licence was unlawful and unreasonable, according to a decision posted on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
In the decision, BC Supreme Court Justice Gary Weatherill sided with Martin Weiss, the owner of a masonry business in Kelowna. Weiss sued Wise and the city after he was notified on Dec. 7, 2020, that his business would not receive a license for 2021 because it did not meet the conditions on the business licence. Weiss said the letter came “out of the blue,” to which Weatherill agreed.
Weatherill also agreed that Wise did not have the authority to revoke the licence. He also agreed that Wise did not have reasonable cause to deny Weiss a business licence and that Wise did not give Weiss the opportunity to be heard.
The city argued that because the business licence period is for one year, the issuance of a business license each year is equivalent to granting a new licence. It also argued that Wise was informing Weiss that a new business licence for 2021 would not be granted.
Weatherill dismissed the argument, saying it has several flaws. He also said that the same licence carries on year after year as long as it is renewed. Weatherill also said it is evident that the city had intentions to cancel Weiss’ business licence.
Weatherill ordered the city to renew the business license upon payment of the annual licence fee. However, Weatherill did not usurp the city’s authority to revoke the business license with a legitimate reason under its bylaws.