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

B.C.’s mixed doubles starts with ceremonial rock throw in Hope

Sixteen teams will compete over five days for opportunity to move on nationals in Manitoba

Fraser Valley couple wins $500K after finding scratch-and-win while moving

  • Robert Walters and Lois Gueret of Agassiz win half a million from Scratch & Win ticket

UPDATE: High-risk sex offender living in Chilliwack has supervision order extended

Former mayor and residents wanted James Conway gone from residential neighbourhood two years ago

‘Laff’ on International Women’s Day with a lineup of female comedians in Chilliwack

All-female comedy show I Am Woman! Hear Me Laff! returns to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Court orders Hope-area First Nation council to accept long-contested memberships

Federal judge rules Peters Band Council acted “irrationally, unreasonably” in rejecting applications

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Cypress Mountain offers free lift tickets March 13 in honour of snowboarding pioneer

Jake Burton Carpenter invented the sport of snowboarding

Most Read