The mayor of Halifax has asked city staff to look at waiving encroachment fees for businesses trying to make their buildings more accessible.  

Business owners are charged annual fees if part of their building affect municipal property, such as a sidewalk. That can include signs, awnings — and even ramps for people with mobility issues.

"This comes under 'no good deed goes unpunished,'" Mayor Mike Savage said Thursday.

"I'm asking staff to look at the way we would waive fees for encroachments designed to facilitate barrier-free access."

Halifax mayor Mike Savage

Mayor Savage has asked staff to look at waiving encroachment fees to help make buildings more accessible. (CBC)

Bureaucracy 'ridiculous'

The mayor said he learned of the issue from the owner of Woozles Children's Bookstore on Birmingham Street in downtown Halifax.

The store has a ramp and is charged an annual encroachment fee of $168, owner Liz Crocker said.

"It's not the amount, but the ramp does not impede pedestrians," Crocker said. "The bureaucracy involved in this charge is just ridiculous."

Crocker said she is happy to hear about the mayor's call for a report. 

"It shows he is listening," she said. "Maybe this will spark a broader conversation about all the fees imposed on small businesses."