World's tallest gnome may need height reduction to meet Saanich bylaws
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, May 10, 2019 2:33PM PDT
He now has a new home in Saanich, but Howard the world's tallest gnome isn't exactly being embraced by his new community.
The nearly eight-metre-tall statue, which greeted drivers along the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay for decades, was dismantled and moved to Galey Farms in Saanich Thursday.
It had to be moved because the gas station that owned it deemed the attraction a safety risk after it had fallen into disrepair.
Galey Farms has big plans for Howard, like giving him a fresh coat of paint and even mechanizing the massive gnome to make him wave and blink his eyes.
But plans for the tourist attraction may be hampered by local bylaws, according to the farm's owner.
"Howard is in great shape and we'll have him ready to go in October if we're allowed to," said Galey Farms owner Rob Galey. "We've had a little glitch in our first meeting with Saanich."
The problem is that the zoning for Galey Farms only allows structures to be seven and a half metres tall, according to Galey.
"He's somewhere around 16, 18 inches [over], we're not much apart," he said. "Saanich initially said just shorten him, but he is the world's tallest gnome in the Guinness Book of World Records and I really don't want to take his crown away."
Galey remains hopeful he can work something out with the District of Saanich to get Howard refurbished and installed by the time PumpkinFest rolls around in October.
There have been suggestions that the farm should just dig a hole to place the gnome in so it meets the requirement, but Galey said it's not so simple.
"There are stipulations to that too," he said.
Galey said he was surprised he met with resistance because of the high interest in rehoming Howard.
"Over 100 towns from across Canada and the U.S.A., he went viral, everybody wanted him," he said.
In the meantime, Howard remains dismantled, with multiple parts in storage around Saanich.