Payday loan outlets may not be the best value for money in Barrie.
An effort from Con. Sergio Morales for limiting payday lending establishments along Dunlop Street in the city center has turned into something bigger.
Barrie city councilors on Monday approved a motion asking staff to investigate the possibility of allowing payday lending establishments under the General Business Licensing By-law to restrict their number and concentration throughout the city and to report to the board.
Additionally, staff will review the minimum distance separation provisions for payday loans, body piercings, pawn shops and tattoo parlors downtown and report back as part of the zoning by-law review. .
At the general council committee on September 13, the council. Gary Harvey noted that the payday outlets problem extended beyond downtown.
“We all have areas in our neighborhoods that are of all different socio-economic levels where these particular types of storefronts as well as option-to-buy rentals specifically target lower-middle-income people,” Harvey said. “The less we have in our neighborhoods, I think the better all of our neighborhoods will be. “
“The last thing we want to see is a bunch of these bundled into one of our departments. I don’t know if any of our parishes have at least one, if not two of these establishments.
What Morales was looking for in his original motion was for city staff to report on the restriction on payday lending facilities along Dunlop Street when Barrie councilors reviewed the updated zoning by-law.
Com. Keenan Aylwin also wanted to take the case beyond the city center.
“These institutions grant loans at exorbitant interest rates, and they often disproportionately harm vulnerable people,” Aylwin said during the general committee discussion last Monday. “They tend to be clustered in lower income neighborhoods or neighborhoods where there may be more poverty. This is something we should be considering not only to help vulnerable people, but also in terms of economic development.
“These establishments don’t add much to a neighborhood or to our downtown core. I think it is time we put restrictions in place.
Also at that meeting, Aylwin reminded council that municipalities were given the power from the province to restrict outlets for payday loans in 2018.
Morales felt that some advisers were moving away from the intent of his motion.
At the general committee last week, he pointed out that the discussion about the morals of these companies was not the discussion he was trying to have right now. Morales said his goal was to restrict payday outlets only on Dunlop Street.
City staff, in response to a question from Mayor Jeff Lehman last Monday about whether a certain business could be restricted on a single street, told him no.
“There is a separation distance and restricting that particular use on a street is something, from a professional planning opinion, it would be difficult to present to council,” explained Michelle Banfield, director of development services for Barrie. , during the general committee meeting last week. .
The motion presented to city council on September 20 was passed without further discussion.