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

Column: Helping one another through these challenging times

Director’s Notes by CSRD Area C director Paul Demenok

Okanagan real estate market stable; bracing for slowdown due to COVID-19

Real estate board projects slowdown as the economic impacts of the pandemic continue to develop

May fundraisers for Salmon Arm non-profits postponed

Literacy Alliance spelling bee, Hit2Fit boxing event on hold due to COVID-19

COVID19 pushes Salmon Arm boxing coach into students’ living rooms

Needs of students with Parkinson’s prompts Bulldogs’ Peggy Maerz into Zoom Room

Summerland Action Festival cancelled

COVID-19 pandemic leads to decision to stop large outdoor event

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Emergency services respond to numerous incidents on Highway 1

Today there were multiple semi truck crashes on Highway 1 and a collision by the hospital

Large item collection events cancelled in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Concerns about spread of COVID-19 led to decision to cancel collection events

COVID-19: postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19: Central Okanagan fire departments only responding to serious medical calls

The new directive from Dr. Bonnie Henry does not change the public safety response of firefighters

Okanagan business produces plexiglass barriers with a cause

Mouldings and More is donating barrier proceeds to local food banks

53 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., four new deaths

B.C. has 498 active confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus

Organizers hoping to hold Summerland Fall Fair

COVID-19 pandemic may result in changes to agricultural celebration

Most Read