Sunday shopping hours will remain as is for the time being as second reading of proposed Bylaw Number 1878-2012 was defeated Aug. 13 in a 3-3 tie vote. All tie voters are lost under council’s rule of procedure.
The bylaw would have allowed retail stores to open on Sunday at 9 a.m. as opposed to noon. Response from the public and business community has been almost evenly split with regards to the bylaw, with a city online survey showing 16 respondents in favor, 15 not in favor and one undecided.
First reading of the bylaw had July 16.
Voting in favor of the bylaw were, Deputy Mayor Dennis Fenske, who was chairing the meeting in Mayor Tim Johnston’s absence, Coun. Erin Hogan, and Johnston via telephone.
Opposed to the bylaw were Coun. Luke Robinson, Coun. Penny Byer, and Coun. Judy Kolada.
There is a possibility that with a by-aw such as this that has passed first reading and later been defeated in a split vote, that it could be brought to the table again at a later date.
Any councillor has the right to bring the bylaw forward again as long as it is within a year’s time. The councillor would have to put in writing that they would like the bylaw to be reconsidered; if council agrees to reconsider, the bylaw can then be brought forward and voted on again.
Fenske says he won’t speculate on whether or not the bylaw will in fact be brought forward but does say that if it were the will of the council to do so then he would look at it, though he himself won’t bring it forward.
Fenske did take a stance in favor of the bylaw at the Aug. 13 meeting, speaking to the pros of an additional three hours of Sunday shopping in Thompson.
“We (Thompson) sell ourselves as a regional centre and a lot of the outlying communities come in to shop on the weekends,” said Fenske in an interview with the Thompson Citizen, “we’ve said that for years in arguing our census that we have a major influx on weekends, and businesses know that weekends are busier than normal because of the outlying areas. My thinking was that the extra three hours on Sunday morning, especially in the winter with the winter roadways, if I could get on the road two or three hours earlier then I would take advantage of that as opposed to waiting until noon and not getting out of town until it’s getting dark.”
One of the more interesting points made by Fenske was his view that the city should not stand in the way of business.
“It’s an optional thing, businesses don’t have to open the three hours earlier, but they have the option so it’s my feeling that council shouldn’t stand in the way of that opportunity,” said Fenske.