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

Just Posted

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

Pandemic partially handcuffing Island broom busting operations

Groups looking for experienced volunteers to tackle invasive plants while social distanced

EDITORIAL: Kindness does wonders for mental health

Who can honestly say this pandemic hasn’t messed with their head? But there are ways to fight the malaise

Vancouver Island man scores viral hit with stop-motion tribute to ‘Schitt’s Creek’

Todd Cameron used vintage Fisher Price toys to create one-minute music video

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

International students ‘biggest unknown’ in Nanaimo school district’s budget planning

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board will look at preliminary 2020-21 budget this week

Port Alberni’s Cruise for Care returns for encore

Car enthusiasts will honour frontline workers Friday, May 29 on route through city

Chris Lowther becomes Tofino’s second Poet Laureate

“It’s very encouraging and it’s motivating and that’s the greatest gift any writer can receive.”

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

ATV crash at bottom of Mount Washington sends two to hospital

ATV went off the logging road and into the bushes

Royal B.C. Museum reopens in phases, some galleries remain closed to start summer

Victoria museum and archives open first galleries June 19

Most Read