Driving schools in the British Virgin Islands, particularly those operating on the Road Town festival grounds and other public places, may soon be mandated by law to pay rent.
Roughly four driving schools are currently operating in and around the city and charge a standard $25 per hour fee for their services.
City Manager Janice Braithwaite-Edwards told BVI News yesterday that these business owners currently operate free of charge.
“They do not pay anything,” she said, adding that the City is currently powerless where charging them a fee is concerned.
“We are looking at the legislation because everything we do have to come through legislation and an act. But that has not been formulated as yet but those are things that we are going to be considering as we move forward.”
Driving schools to be relocated
The City Manager also said driving schools will be soon be prohibited from conducting driving lessons on the festival grounds. She said they will be moved to a new location.
Braithwaite-Edwards said the relocation is part of the clean-up efforts currently underway at festival grounds.
“The festival ground is a community site and now that we have come through the floods and the hurricanes, I don’t think from where we sit it looks good. We need to ensure that it’s tidy. It’s in the heart of the city,” she said.
“I don’t think we want to encourage all of those drivers to come out there. We are actually looking at alternate locations for them.”
Festival grounds to become parking lot
Braithwaite-Edwards said the government has plans in the pipeline for Road Town-based festival grounds.
“They (driving schools) are running a business, so technically if you are running a business, then you should provide space for you to do your business,” the City Manager reasoned.
“But, in the meantime, we have allowed them to use our space. but at the end of the day, there are other activities we would like to have at festival grounds including looking at surface parking for the overflow of parking within the confines of the city. So that is something that we are taking into consideration.”
She said the City has not identified a site for their relocation.
Willing to pay
Arthur Springette of Reliable Driving School told BVI News on Wednesday that he would be willing to pay if the need arises.
However, he said the festival ground is ideal for his line of work.
“I like over here for a number of reasons. Over here is a better location, it is a convenient area to get to. If I get a piece of land to lease, I would be happy to but I don’t have that privilege and flat land in Tortola is steep,” he said.
“So, I have to work with the government on what they have to do. I am not paying rent over here,” Springette said.
He has been in the business for more than 40 years.
Driving Schools previously conducted lessons at the site in Road Town that now houses the Tortola Pier Park parking lot.
They were relocated to the festival grounds a few years ago to facilitate the Pier Park’s construction.
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