From the...


Farmers, city hall clash over selling roadside produce

Rural residents would be barred from offering fruit, vegetables at stands along public roadways

Carly Weeks

The Ottawa Citizen

 
Friday, May 27, 2005

CREDIT: Chris Mikula, The Ottawa Citizen

Andy Terauds, a farmer who operates Acorn Creek Garden Farm, called councillors 'prime jackasses.' 'If some idiots downtown are trying to tell us where to market our production on the road side, it's going to be just about impossible,' he said.


A proposed bylaw that would make it illegal for rural residents to sell fresh produce from roadside stalls if they aren't on private property has area farmers upset.

The bylaw reflects city hall's effort to replace scores of different regulations, which were in place in the various municipalities before amalgamation, with citywide rules.

The city wants the uniform bylaws in place by the end of the year. The problem is, this one-size-fits-the-whole-city bylaw system is bumping up against some long-held traditions.

"They are prime jackasses," Andy Terauds, a Carp farmer who operates Acorn Creek Garden Farm, said yesterday. "If some idiots downtown are trying to tell us where to market our production on the roadside, it's going to be just about impossible."

There has never been a licensing system for rural residents who sell goods at the side of the road. But neither has there been a bylaw to prevent people from doing so. In the past, city officials have looked the other way when people set up roadside stands in rural areas, intervening only on a complaint basis, said Jules Bouvier, project officer for bylaw services.

 
 
Janne Campbell, president of the Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton, echoed that view, saying there's no clear reason farmers shouldn't be allowed to sell fresh produce at the side of roads and highways, as they've done for decades.

"Bylaws are supposed to be for health and safety issues,"  ...Campbell said. "We haven't had any problems with people dying. A farmer is not going to sell something that's going to hurt somebody."

 
 

Under the proposed bylaw, vendors within the boundaries of the former city of Ottawa will still be allowed to run their operations, although bylaw services wants regulations that would require these vendors to stay in one place.

But those rules only apply inside the former Ottawa's borders, and can't be extended to other areas, said Mr. Bouvier. While the city could create another bylaw allowing people to purchase licences to sell goods at the side of the road, that's not a path it wants to follow.

Mr. Terauds, however, pointed out that he has sold his crops at the side of the road for many years, a practice on which dozens of area farmers rely.

While the city's proposed bylaw would allow people to sell produce on private property, that doesn't help farmers who live on back roads that see little traffic. For those farmers, it's necessary to load up a truck with crops and find a spot to sell them on a busier stretch of road.

Janne Campbell, president of the Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton, echoed that view, saying there's no clear reason farmers shouldn't be allowed to sell fresh produce at the side of roads and highways, as they've done for decades.

"Bylaws are supposed to be for health and safety issues," ...Campbell said. "We haven't had any problems with people dying. A farmer is not going to sell something that's going to hurt somebody."

Rural residents have been trying for a few months to find compromise on the would-be bylaw, and have had some success in getting their ideas implemented. The city has backed away from earlier proposals that would have required people to pay the city if they wanted to set up a booth at an exhibition or flea market.

Instead, those costs will absorbed by those running the flea market or exhibition. Now, it will cost $5,000 to purchase a 12-month licence for a flea market or exhibition, as opposed to $3,000, which was the amount bylaw services proposed last December.

The city is accepting public opinions on the proposed bylaw until Tuesday. Recommendations will be presented at the city's emergency and protective services committee on June 9.

 The Ottawa Citizen 2005
 

Related Letters to the Editor:

Urbanite interference - The Ottawa Citizen - May 31, 2005

Ban farming altogether - The Ottawa Citizen - June 1, 2005


Earlier related story:

Farmers' market fees 'just a big tax grab' - The Ottawa Citizen - Feb 1, 2005


Later related stories:

Committee OKs bylaw against roadside selling - The Ottawa Citizen - June 10, 2005

Bylaw against roadside selling is unacceptableRural Council EDITORIAL -June 10, 2005

 

 

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