Ward 4 Council. Geoff McCausland, Payday Loan Centers, Greater Sudbury

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Ward 4 Council. Geoff McCausland wants to help residents stop sinking into deep financial holes.

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After several delays, McCausland brought forward a motion at Tuesday’s council meeting asking for a report that would revise the relevant by-law (By-law 2004-350) and ultimately limit the number of payday loan centers dotted around town. The motion said the review should be presented to the board by the end of the third quarter.

McCausland, whose neighborhood includes Donovan, told The Star recently that he was surprised to see a billboard advertising a payday loan center on his neighborhood front steps.

Ward 4 Council. Geoff mccausland courtesy of the city of greater sudbury

“A few months ago there was a billboard advertising payday loans on Kathleen Street as you walked into the Donovan. It seemed to me that they were only advertising there in an attempt to prey on the most vulnerable members of our community, ”he said. “There was also an outcry from some of my constituents when the fourth payday loan business opened downtown, while simultaneously other local businesses closed for good.”

The loan center McCausland referred to is located on Durham Street across from the Good Luck general store.

In the motion, McCausland called for the report to “take into account potential restrictions for payday lending establishments, which could regulate the location of such establishments, including minimum separation distances between payday lending establishments and minimum separation distances from various sensitive land uses including, but not limited to, social service locations, methadone clinics, group homes, schools, affordable housing, etc., as well as ‘a maximum number of these establishments per district.

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McCausland said there is a precedent and he pointed out that Toronto has adopted strict protocols to regulate payday lending centers in this city.

While most councilors have shown support for the motion, Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier said he would never support the idea.

Montpellier took offense that the motion would regulate companies that pay taxes and have been established legally.

District 3 Council.  Gerry Montpellier
District 3 Council. Gerry Montpellier courtesy of the city of greater sudbury

“I am mortified by this motion which would in effect label a company that pays its taxes and employs people from the City of Greater Sudbury as a predator and suggests that we say where they will be located and suggest how they are going to operate,” said Montpellier.

He said he heard from voters who own business, who feared the city would try to step in and take control of their businesses.

Montpellier also pointed out that clients of payday lending centers have an agency and can make decisions for themselves.

“We’re trying to attract companies and we’re actually going to get a report that will monitor where they’re going to go, where they’re going to be,” he said. “To imply that the people who use these services are not able to make their own decisions about where to borrow. “

Montpellier said that according to recent reports, 17% of small businesses have closed. He said these payday loan centers could actually help keep traders afloat.

“One hundred percent I would never support something like this,” he said.

McCausland got almost unanimous support, however, with only Montpellier voting against the motion. Ward 2 Council. Michael Vagnini did not vote on Tuesday.

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Twitter: @marykkeown
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