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

Just Posted

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

Victoria police are looking for Delmer Esau who was last seen in Esquimalt June 1. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Search continues for man last seen in Esquimalt

Delmer Esau, 35, hasn’t been seen since June 1

Thriving Toots Wilderness School is trying to buy a 98-acre plot of undeveloped land from the Boys and Girls’ Club of Greater Victoria in Metchosin. (Contributed/Thriving Roots)
Hopeful buyers of Boys and Girls’ Club land in Metchosin would keep it wild

Nature-based school, partners trying to secure financing to buy 98-acre property: school director

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read