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

Royal B.C. Museum reopens in phases, some galleries remain closed to start summer

Victoria museum and archives open first galleries June 19

Greater Victoria’s first BC Cannabis Store could open at Saanich shopping centre

Store application for Uptown Shopping Centre headed for public hearing

Bike lane closed, traffic impacted by landscaping in Metchosin

Construction begins May 25, to be complete by mid-July

MISSING: Victoria police on the lookout for woman last seen April 28

Leah Parker, 41, is described five-foot-five and about 140 pounds with brown/blonde hair, blue eyes

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

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

28 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in ong-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of Nanaimo’s Lisa Marie Young

Most Read