A Saanich woman’s roadside preserve stand has run afoul of some of her neighbours and municipal bylaw officers.
Katherine Little set up “The Little Stand” just outside her home on Queensbury Avenue last summer. The stand, which sells jam and salsa made from local produce, has become so popular, she is trying to keep up with the demand.
“People love it, they know that they can pop up here and pick something up,” Little said.
“They talk to us — I’ve never been more engaged in a neighbourhood in my life.”
But the stand has hit a sour note with at least three of her neighbours, and municipal bylaw officers are taking action on the complaints.
Little has been ordered to take down all signage by Friday, and shut down the stand by June 6.
“And for what?” Little said. “For one person to say, ‘I don’t like the sign and I don’t like the traffic.'”
In a statement, Saanich Bylaw said, “It is important to note that municipal property is not zoned for individual business use, and retail sales are not permitted on most residential property.”
Little acknowledges the stand is technically illegal, but that’s not stopping her from fighting back. She has collected hundreds of letters of support and a petition of signatures in the hopes an exception will be made.
“Directly in their policy, it says that no enforcement action is necessary, it’s taken on a case-by-case basis and it’s their discretion whether or not to use enforcement action,” said Little.
Little says she has a personal reason to stay in business. She opened the roadside stand as part of her recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being severely injured on the job six years ago as a Canada Border Service inland enforcement officer.
“This is a healing tool for me. This absolutely gives me a sense of purpose,” Little said.
“It gets me out talking to my customers and engaging with people again, where I was in a really dark place for a long time.”
In the meantime, Little has been told she can sell the products at a farmer’s market or online. She has declined, saying it defeats the purpose of what the stand is all about.
“It’s an extension of us, it’s an extension of the community,” Little said.
“It’s worth the fight and I don’t want to give up and we’re not giving up.”
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