Saanich residents Colleen O’Farrell (left) and Katherine Little (right) are fighting for the right to operate farm stands from their front yards. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich looks at relaxing farm stand ban

Flower stand operator given 45-day extension on shut-down notice

Saanich will peruse options to allow for roadside sales.

During a virtual meeting on May 4, council voted unanimously that municipal staff look at options for temporarily relaxing the roadside farm stand bylaw to allow the sale of produce, flowers and homemade goods within the Urban Containment Boundary during the pandemic.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers made the motion that asked for a report by May 11, but was amended to May 25.

READ ALSO: Saanich talks temporary allowance for roadside farm stands

“I am pleased we are looking at ‘made in Saanich’ solutions for economic recovery and leaning on our agricultural roots,” Chambers, said after the meeting, adding that the region is home to fertile lands stewarded by local First Nations long before Saanich was established. Chambers feels “the District is ideally poised” to face the economic crisis through sustainable agriculture.

Mayor Fred Haynes emphasized that the May 4 decision does not change the bylaw. The vote was to direct staff to analyze how the bylaw could be relaxed or changed. He said changing a bylaw requires public input and Saanich staff are still working on a way to have resident input at public hearings during the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Support blooms as Saanich flower stand operator takes on bylaw

Two Saanich residents and farm stand operators have been at the forefront of the push for a review of the bylaw banning farm stands on private property. Katherine Little has been fighting for her jam stand since 2018. Local grocery stores offered to sell her jam after she was forced to shut down the stand in June 2019. While she’s grateful her jam is still being sold, Little is passionate about her roadside stand. Despite council not officially permitting farm stands on Monday night, Little reopened her stand at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Colleen O’Farrell’s battle began more recently. The florist opened a flower cart outside her home on Heath Drive in mid-March after her business was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers began cancelling orders and flowers piled up in O’Farrell’s shop. In an effort to repurpose the blooms and make up for missed income, she opened the farm stand.

READ ALSO: Saanich jam stand at the centre of controversy prepares to close

On April 22, Saanich gave O’Farrell 30 days’ notice to shut down. During the May 4 meeting, council gave O’Farrell’s stand a 45-day extension while council decides how to proceed.

Haynes said it was suggested Saanich simply implement Victoria’s bylaw which permits roadside stands selling goods made or grown on the property. However, as Little and O’Farrell’s stands sell goods that aren’t all grown on their properties, they still wouldn’t be permitted to operate. Saanich staff and council will examine the situation “carefully and compassionately” before making a decision, Haynes said.

A full review of Saanich’s farm stand bylaw is also expected before council in the next month.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

District of Saanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Depression-era’ unemployment figures could hit Greater Victoria

South Island Prosperity Project launches new dashboard to measure effects of COVID-19

Langford bartender hosts singalong livestream for seniors

Live Senior Singalong takes place daily at 1 p.m. on Facebook

Langford woman frustrated over visitor restrictions to see 96-year-old mother

Island Health to introduce virtual visits at long-term care facilities

Shot fired through young family’s home in Victoria, man in custody

No injuries reported from incident in 1200-block of Yates Street

West Shore churches embrace technology to cope with pandemic

Langford, Colwood and View Royal churches find online audience

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

82% of all test-positive COVID-19 cases in B.C. have recovered

B.C. had 303 active cases as of Saturday, May 23

Most Read