Don Taylor has run afoul of the Maple Ridge bylaws department for his Santa’s North Pole Village attraction. (Facebook photo)

Bylaw shuts down ‘Santa’s Village’ made by B.C. man for kids with autism

City cites wrong zoning and other problems, operator says proceeds went to autism school

Santa is complaining the Maple Ridge bylaws department has shut him down.

Don Taylor runs Santa’s North Pole Village at his home at 22395 124th Ave., where he lets families have photos with Santa sitting in his sleigh, check out his model North Pole village, and get a free stuffed toy.

Everything is done by donation, and proceeds to go the Chrysta Academy, which is a learning centre for children on the autism spectrum.

READ ALSO: North Pole Village in Maple Ridge to benefit children with autism

But this week Taylor has complained in social media that the city bylaws department has shut him down.

“They said I am running Santa’s Village as a business because I am accepting money,” he wrote on the Albion Neighbours Facebook page. “So I said I would not accept donations for my next opening, and then they said I could not just invite people to my house like that or let them on my property.”

The city bylaws department knows people are calling them Grinches online, but say this Santa has to take care of some red tape.

“We are keenly aware of the optics of this enforcement and while we understand the spirit and noble intentions of the charity effort, we have an obligation to act when a person is violating city bylaws,” said Michelle Orsetti, bylaws manager, in a statement. “The safety and security of citizens is the highest priority.”

She said the city found a ‘public assembly use’ at the residence, which is contrary to zoning bylaws.

A bylaws officer served a letter to Taylor on Dec. 18, advising a business license is required and the assembly use is not permitted.

“The operator is to cease operating until approvals are in place for his business, which does not allow the assembly use. We will be following up as soon as possible,” said Orsetti.

“When people are considering doing this type of event they need to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are following all of the proper approvals, especially given that the event caters to young citizens.”

READ ALSO: Glow Maple Ridge will leave you with a warm feeling

She said a criminal record check should be done, impacts on neighbours considered, and establishing a formal relationship with a registered charity to provide transparency around donations and tax receipts should be undertaken.

“Our role, as the city, is to ensure that the proper steps have been taken by event organizers.”


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Port Alberni to review 2020 budget in response to COVID-19

Deadline for final budget adoption is May 15

Alberni school district takes a week off to plan for online education

All buildings and playgrounds in School District 70 closed to the public

Vancouver Island farmers demand on-site slaughter

COVID-19 pandemic puts supply chains at risk, says group

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID 19: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, other First Nations mobilize resources

Some Indigenous communities are enacting emergency measures to cope during pandemic

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Government has signed deals with three companies

World COVID-19 updates: Putin may be exposed; 30,000 prisoners released

Comprehensive news update from around the world as of Tuesday, March 31.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

‘I want people to start listening to what the doctors are saying. This is no joke, please stay home’

Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

Teamsters Canada says truckers are increasingly being denied warm meals

Canadians asked to wash mailboxes, keep dogs at bay, to ensure safe mail delivery

Four postal workers in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 infection:

Most Read