Saanich resident Colleen O’Farrell (left) is fighting for her flower cart with the help of Katherine Little (right) who’s been fighting for her jam stand for more than a year. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich resident Colleen O’Farrell (left) is fighting for her flower cart with the help of Katherine Little (right) who’s been fighting for her jam stand for more than a year. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich talks temporary allowance for roadside farm stands

Councillor recommends lifting ban on roadside sales during pandemic

Farm stands take centre stage when Saanich council meets Monday.

During a virtual council meeting at 6:30 p.m. on May 4, Saanich councillors will consider a report from Coun. Nathalie Chambers calling for roadside stands selling produce, flowers and homemade goods to be temporarily permitted within the Urban Containment Boundary during the pandemic.

In the report submitted April 27, Chambers recommends council direct municipal staff to provide options for temporarily allowing roadside stands by the next meeting on May 11.

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

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said if council votes in favour of the recommendation – which he feels is likely – roadside stands won’t automatically be permitted. Staff would have the week to prepare a report regarding how a temporary permit might be implemented.

Farm stands have long been a controversial topic in Saanich as bylaws don’t permit roadside farm stands on private property. Katherine Little, owner of the Little Stand, began selling jam from a stand in her front yard in 2018. Bylaw officers told her to shut down in June 2019 and Little began fighting to change the bylaw.

Most recently, she’s been joined by Saanich florist Colleen O’Farrell whose business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After customers began cancelling, flowers piled up in her shop. In an effort to repurpose the blooms and make up for missed income, O’Farrell created a flower cart outside her home on Heath Drive.

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

She opened the stand in mid-March and enjoyed the interactions with neighbours while maintaining a safe distance. On April 22, in response to a complaint, a Saanich bylaw officer came knocking and gave her 30 days’ notice to shut down.

O’Farrell and Little understand that changing the bylaw – which has been under review since 2019 – would take time but feel that in this period of economic uncertainty, it’s important for Saanich council to be flexible.

“It is time for this bylaw to change for the better, allowing small businesses to pivot and flourish in our challenging economy,” O’Farrell wrote in a Change.org petition created on April 24 which had more than 3,000 signatures by May 2.

READ ALSO: Saanich jam stand owner feels harassed, seeks legal advice

Chambers agrees and hopes her fellow councillors will see the need to support local businesses by temporarily allowing roadside sales.

Haynes emphasized that council is “acutely aware of the hardships” many residents are facing and the goal is to be “as compassionate as possible” while considering all sides of the issue.

“I certainly think that this is an important matter,” he said, “but we have to look at what is reasonable and appropriate for Saanich.”

He added that as public input during meetings is not currently an option as meetings are being conducted by conference call, residents are invited to provide input by email, mail or phone until noon on May 4.

Haynes said a staff report based on the review of Saanich’s farm stand bylaw should be coming to council in the next month or so.


@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

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes delivers the inaugural address at council’s swearing-in ceremony in November 2018. The ceremony included blessings from representatives of two Christian churches. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes delivers the inaugural address at council’s swearing-in ceremony in November, 2018. The ceremony included blessings from representatives of two Christian churches – a fact highlighted in a report released by the BC Humanist Associaton on Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Christian-based prayer at inaugural Vancouver Island council meetings violates court ruling

Blessings violate Supreme Court decision that prayer in council is discriminatory

Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, says visitors should steer clear of the community after the second wave of COVID has begun to hit across the province. (Black Press Media file photo)
Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht First Nation asks visitors to steer clear of community again

Tight-knit community of 400 has yet to report single case of COVID

The BCCDC has added WestJet flight 3349 on Nov. 23 to its flight exposure list. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
New COVID-19 exposure on WestJet flight from Edmonton to Victoria

The BCCDC has added WestJet flight 3349 on Nov. 23 to its flight exposure list

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Port McNeill councillor Derek Koel busts a rap to help promote the town’s active transportation plan. (Facebook video screenshot)
VIDEO: Vancouver Island councillor makes rap video to promote active transportation plan

Active transportation is a personal matter for councillor Derek Koel.

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

Most Read