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

Children’s author hopes public can grant father’s wish to see work in Abbotsford library

Dawn Doig’s father recently died from COVID-19 after staying at Worthington Pavilion

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

Survey asks Mission businesses: ‘What PPE do you need most to re-open?’

Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce helping businesses to source PPE locally

Middle school students honoured with G.W. Cooke awards

Mission Community Foundation hands out awards for excellence in Math or Science

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

B.C.’s police watchdog probing death of Richmond man in alleged shoplifting incident

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is asking any witnesses to come forward

Most Read