Saanich orders roadside flower stand shut down
Published Monday, April 27, 2020 5:15PM PDT Last Updated Monday, April 27, 2020 5:57PM PDT
SAANICH -- A Saanich business-owner who has been ordered to shut down her roadside flower stand won't be getting an exemption from the municipal bylaw that prohibits it.
Colleen O'Farrell set up the stand as a way to supplement earnings from her flower shop during the COVID-19 crisis. But a complaint from a neighbour attracted unwanted attention from the bylaw department.
"I would love to see them permanently change the bylaw," O'Farrell told CTV News, adding she would be satisfied with an exemption or amendment "to see that we can survive this time of COVID and allow small businesses to prosper."
But instead, she has been given 30 days to sell her remaining stock and close the stand.
"Staff have some ability to be flexible when they see hardship and I think it's clear in this case that this unfortunate circumstance arose," Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said.
"The 30 days lets her move her perishable stock."
While time is running out for O'Farrell's farm stand, the municipality is exploring a permanent bylaw amendment for such frontyard farm stands.
It's something Katherine Little has been pressuring the municipality to do ever since her jam stand was shut down last year.
"We just want our stand back," Little said. "We want it for our neighbourhood, we want it for the neighbours, we want it for the community."
But the process has been a slow one. A report to council from staff regarding the bylaw amendment has been delayed due to the coronavirus crisis.
"I can imagine if COVID hadn't been here, we'd of had [the report]," Haynes said, adding it's now expected within a month.
"It's on its way, and as soon as we can get to it we will," he said.
But the mayor warned that even if council moves in favour of amending the bylaw, it is still uncertain when actual change would take effect. The process will require a public hearing, and that can't happen until social distancing requirements are relaxed.