Saanich jam stand must shut down; council will review bylaws

Saanich will review its bylaws governing what can be sold from a residential yard, but that still leaves Katherine Little stuck with having to close her jam stand by midnight Saturday.

“We are extremely disappointed,” Little said Tuesday, adding that she had hoped that Saanich councillors would have allowed her some sort of a temporary operating permit for her jam stand.

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“We weren’t doing it just for us. School is going to be out pretty soon and lemonade stands are going to be everywhere [as will] take-a-book leave-a-book. And people will be selling fruit because it’s fruit season.

“We just happened to be the face of it,” Little said.

Acting Mayor Colin Plant said council really didn’t have any viable option that would have allowed Little to continue to operate.

“There was nothing that could have been done last night short of direction from council to not enforce the bylaw,” Plant said.

Council directed staff to report back on options and implications of bylaw changes that would permit produce and processed- food stands to operate on private property and immediately adjacent to boulevards both inside and outside the municipal urban containment boundary.

The review was prompted after Saanich bylaw officers ordered Little to remove her little blue-and-white stand, where she sold homemade jams and salsa from her 1283 Queensbury Ave. driveway, by midnight on June 22.

That sparked hundreds of letters in support of Little’s stand.

Coun. Judy Brownoff noted the issue is not a matter of simply allowing food stands to operate within the urban containment boundary. Different zones have different regulations, she said. Outside the urban containment boundary, in the Agricultural Land Reserve, people can sell produce from their gate, but only vegetables, not prepared foods.

“I think it’s broader than a lot of people may recognize. It’s in the zoning bylaw,” she said.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers had proposed staff develop guidelines that would permit food stands and vegetable stands to operate on private property inside the urban containment boundary — provided they are selling local food and food products grown on site.

But some other councillors said that was too prescriptive.

The new direction to staff is that they bring back options for council to consider, said Coun. Karen Harper. “I’m very sympathetic in this specific case but there are potentially many implications, whether they are legal, insurance or otherwise,” Harper said.

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