Door-to-door salesmen will have one more thing to keep in mind if they’re selling their wares in the Village of Big Valley: the village’s Hawkers and Peddlers Bylaw No. 874. 

Councillors brought the bylaw into effect at the June 8 regular meeting of council.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Elaine Macdonald presented to councillors a report on a previous bylaw the municipality had in place to handle door-to-door salesmen, but there was a bit of a problem.

“The village currently shows that we have a bylaw on the books regulating hawkers and peddlers,” stated Macdonald in her report to council. “It is listed on the bylaw list and shows as Bylaw 7, however we are unable to find a physical copy of the bylaw.”

During discussion Macdonald noted the village office had received complaints from the public about a peddler going door-to-door in Big Valley selling driveway or pavement repair services. 

She said village staff checked the files to see what bylaw was on the books that helped the municipality protect its residents from travelling salesmen.

Readers should note some, but not all, hawkers and peddlers have been linked to shoddy workmanship or fraud in other communities.

The CAO continued by noting staff did track down some information about “Bylaw 7” which apparently dates back to 1926, but no physical copy of the document was ever found. 

Hence, Macdonald proposed a new bylaw to handle door-to-door salesmen.

“The intent of the bylaw is to regulate the door-to-door sales and ‘cold calls’ that occur,” stated Macdonald. “We will be able to monitor the companies that are coming in and residents can ask people that show up to produce their license.

“This will not apply if a resident has a contractor or company come out to do work on their home or property.” 

The CAO noted this bylaw should give residents some piece of mind in the case of hawkers or peddlers who are registered with the village and can present the required license.

“They’re either going to come (to the village office) or leave town,” said Macdonald.

The bylaw requires a license fee of $50 for one day or $250 for a year. Any hawker or peddler doing business in Big Valley without the proper license is at risk of a $200 fine, which doubles to $400 for each subsequent offence.

The bylaw contains rules such as hawkers and peddlers aren’t allowed to call on people before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m., mobile vending units aren’t allowed to park on public streets in Big Valley, the hawkers and peddlers aren’t allowed to conduct business in a manner that offends the general public and if the village bylaw officer finds a hawker or peddler doesn’t have the proper village licensing the business may close immediately.

During discussion Coun. Clark German asked about activities such as non-profit societies and youth groups selling things, and Macdonald noted the bylaw includes exemptions for local groups. 

However, she noted the village would still like people to drop into the municipal office and let staff know they’re doing door-to-door sales.

Mayor Dan Houle noted the hawker and peddler license is very similar to a business license and requires a hawker or peddler to register with the village. 

“That’ll make them think twice, won’t it?” mused the mayor.

The CAO responded the license fee may discourage scammers while legitimate businesses understand it’s necessary.

Councillors unanimously approved all readings of the bylaw to bring it into effect.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 15, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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