laws cannot be made fair simply by their non-enforcement.
Committee OKs bylaw
against roadside selling
But farmers won't
be harassed if safety no concern, official says
The Ottawa Citizen
A council committee passed a bylaw
yesterday that makes it illegal for people to sell goods on public
roads and sidewalks, but officials assured Ottawa farmers the new
law will rarely be enforced in rural areas.
Jules Bouvier, project officer for
bylaw services, said that even if farmers are selling on the highway
"they will be tolerated if there's no safety concern."
According to city officials, the
bylaw is necessary because the city has to come up with regulations
that affect the entire amalgamated city. The city, said officials at
yesterday's committee meeting, is not out to get the farming
Nonetheless, some farmers said
they'd feel better if the city's pledge to let them continue selling
produce at the side of public roads were put in writing.
bylaw to prohibit roadside selling is intended mainly to
give the city the means to control street vendors in the
project officer for bylaw services
"That's still a concern. It's not
on paper -- that's the part that bothers us," said Andy Terauds, a
Carp farmer who operates Acorn Creek Garden Farm.
The bylaw to prohibit roadside
selling is intended mainly to give the city the means to control
street vendors in the downtown area. But it's impossible for the
city to make different laws for different parts of the city, said
People who sell fruit, vegetables
and other goods at the side of rural roads will be allowed to
continue doing so. The city will step in only if there's a complaint
or safety concerns, such as if a person sets up a stall too close to
The bylaw is part of the city's
effort to establish the uniformity of the regulations that applied
in the municipalities that existed before amalgamation. While some
of the former municipalities allowed people to sell produce at the
side of the road, others didn't. The new bylaw will affect all areas
of the new city.
However, there are some people who
will be exempt from the bylaw, including those with a permit for a
special event and vendors in the former city of Ottawa who have been
granted a designated space permit.
Despite the uncertainty about
enforcing the new bylaw, some rural residents acknowledge the city
has made an effort to work with them.
"I think we're headed in the right
direction," said Larry Shouldice, who operates Shouldice Farms.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2005
EDITORIAL - Rural Council of
June 10, 2005
Bylaw against roadside selling is
unacceptable, probably illegal
again, the need for local decision-making
The Emergency and
Protective Services Committee’s passage of a bylaw yesterday, making
it illegal for people to sell goods on public roads and sidewalks,
is simply not acceptable.
Any bylaw that
dictates justification for universal rules to be
followed ---then immediately declares unwritten exceptions to those
rules--- is ill conceived and poorly executed.
have assured farmers that the new law will rarely be enforced in the
rural areas, unfair laws cannot be made fair simply by their
non-enforcement. And, making a law that is meant to be broken most of the
time is a completely unsound concept. Why not make a road vending
bylaw that correctly reflects the respective differences between
urban and rural, and be done with it?
There is a real issue as to whether this bylaw is legal,
if it seeks to regulate established farm practice.
...Road side sales are an established farm practice
relied upon by many food producers to supplement their
Let’s try to
study the rationale for the bylaw, in the first place. (See
wording of Bylaw) In its
Executive Summary the Committee states that, “Uniform
city-wide controls on the sales of foodstuffs and goods from
highways are required to ensure public safety; vehicular and
pedestrian traffic flow; and highway maintenance standards.”
problem, of course, is with the term, “uniform city-wide
controls”. If roadside vending within the dense city core
has different ramifications to that of a farmer selling fresh corn
on an open roadside near Burretts Rapids or Kinburn, then the bylaw
should reflect those differences. Dictating uniformity
creates serious problems. One size does not fit all. Urban Ottawa
and the annexed rural countryside also called Ottawa are entirely
different entities. The city should respect that without causing
harm to either group.
Currently-unregulated highway vendors are not suddenly
going to explode in number, however, urban street
vendors would increase dramatically if not regulated.
One also has to
ask, “What is being controlled here?” If it is
public safety, then it makes sense that a chip wagon on
Wellington Street would have rather more stringent safety rules than
the fruit and vegetable vendor on Diamondview Road who would also
have safety precautions to follow, but less so, because without a
curb there would be more setback room and more space for cars to
park. Therefore, the public safety rules must be different, not
If it is the
city’s intention to make street vendors in densely populated central
Ottawa require a license and pay a fee, there may be a rationale for
doing this to prevent having chip wagons on every corner, and to
administer an orderly street vendor program. But rural vendors are
far-and-few-between, and should not require any such licensing or
administration fees. Currently-unregulated highway vendors are not
suddenly going to explode in number, however, urban street vendors
would increase dramatically if not regulated.
BYLAW NOT LEGAL?
There is a real
issue as to whether this bylaw is legal, if it seeks to regulate
established farm practice. Section (6) of The Farming and Food
Production Act provides that, "No municipal bylaw
applies to restrict normal farm practice carried on as part of any
Road side sales
are an established farm practice relied upon by many food producers
to supplement their incomes.
The bylaw would
have to be challenged if Council tries to pass it.
As with so many
other differences between urban and rural life, some sort of local
rural governance structure, (i.e.: borough system), to deal with
matters that are distinctly rural would solve this and all other
like problems, permanently, for everyone.
Imagine how much
simpler matters would be for Council as a whole if rural vegetable
stands, rural fire burning permits, rural community hall management and
volunteer staffing, and a host of other internal rural matters,
could be handled in the rural area –as they always have been in the
past, (prior to the curse of amalgamation).
The Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton
- June 10, 2005
Previous related story
May 27 - 2005
city hall clash over selling roadside produce - The Ottawa