‘Howard’ moved from Nanoose Bay to Galey Farms in Saanich on May 9. But it is not clear yet when he will be erected again. (Karly Blats/Black Press News Media)

Howard the Gnome not yet approved for Saanich farm land

Cost is $1,500 to apply for approval from Agricultural Land Commission

A Saanich farm faces the prospect of paying at least $1,500 towards erecting Howard the Gnome.

That’s how much it would cost Galey Farms to file an application to make the eight-metre-tall gnome a permanent fixture on their Saanich property. And that figure doesn’t include the cost of refurbishing, then erecting Howard.

Avtar Sundher, director of operations for the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), said existing land use regulations do not allow permanent facilities as part of agri-tourism businesses, unless the ALC approves them. The application process would take about 60 to 90 days, he added.

RELATED: The world’s tallest gnome is apparently 16 inches too tall for Saanich

According to Sundher, the ALC has not yet received such application.

The status of Howard the Gnome remains uncertain after he travelled via truck to Saanich from Nanoose Bay, where he stood more than two decades near a gas station.

Representatives of the gas station told the granddaughter of Howard’s creator, Ron Hale, that they no longer wanted the statue on their property “due to legal reasons.”

This prompted a bidding war for the unique structure, with Saanich’s Galey Farms eventually emerging as Howard’s new home.

As crews were getting ready to move Howard on Thursday, Rob Galey told reporters that Howard is apparently 16 inches too tall for Saanich’s liking, with Galey unwilling to make plans to cut him down to size.

“He is the Guinness Book of World Records, and I don’t plan of de-crowning him of his title,” said Galey. “Sixteen inches is nothing.”

Well, height appears to be only part of the problem.

“The [Agricultural Land Commission] has confirmed that although [agri-tourism] is considered a farm use which would not require an application to the ALC, the construction or erection of permanent facilities is not permitted,” said Megan Catalano, a Saanich spokesperson last week. “As such, the Galeys would need to apply to the ALC for a non-farm use.”

RELATED: Howard the Gnome finds a home at Galey Farms

Saanich, she said, requires compliance with ALC regulations, something staff told Galey in early April.

“Planning staff were in contact with the Galeys as soon they were aware of the Galey family’s intent to acquire the gnome,” she said. “Staff met with the Galeys in early April and informed them of the zoning requirements and suggested they contact the ALC as soon as possible to ensure all of their requirements were addressed.”

She added that Saanich staff have not received any confirmation from the Galeys about Howard’s height since the meeting held in early April. “To date, no variance application has been received.”

Rob Galey said he plans to talk to Saanich again to resolve this issue on the premise that the ALC will act on feedback from the municipality. This said, Galey said the demands of his farm have pressed him for time. The farm is first priority, he said, adding that agri-tourism represents only a minor share of his business. Still, Galey said he would hate to let people down, adding that community support for his efforts have been exclusively supportive.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

VIU graphic design students propose less wasteful packaging in new exhibition

‘Unwrapped’ show is on display at the school’s View Gallery until Dec. 1

Trekking Vancouver Island’s ‘Secret Coast’

Island pair paddle the most remote corner of our coastline to collect and share its story

EDITORIAL: Islanders need to step up our recycling efforts

As much as 60 per cent of items taken to landfill could be recycled

T.W. Paterson column; ‘We are looking for the hangman, me dear’, part 3

Sally stayed with the canoe as lookout as Quomlet and Johnny disappeared into a copse of trees

Four generations of Vancouver Island logging and mining stories in one show

Nanaimo’s John Gogo will share regional stories, family history and song in his latest project

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

Most Read