Farmers market banned by Kirkland by-law

Kirkland resident’s requests for exception denied as ‘too costly’ 

By Matthew Guité

A Kirkland resident who wanted to give local farmers and urban growers a chance to sell their goods to the community has been barred from hosting a farmers market due to a Kirkland by-law.

Daniel La Tour, an urban gardener himself, was one of the founding members of the Beaconsfield Farmers market last year and sought to expand that success this year to a similar market in Kirkland. After attending a Kirkland council meeting to present the idea, La Tour was put in touch with a city inspector who informed him that there was no way the city could hold such a market due to one of its bylaws forbidding the outdoor display of goods.

In e-mails obtained by The Suburban, the city inspector informed La Tour that his proposal “was presented and discussed with management where the decision to refuse the request was taken. To proceed with a request for minor exemption would be costly and time consuming and may result in the same outcome.”

The inspector also informed La Tour that a request to use a space offered by a local business was also denied because it required the permission of the owner of a nearby shopping centre, a process which “is very costly and is very lengthy as well.”

By-Law 90-58, article 5.11 c) states that “Any type of outdoor display is prohibited throughout the Town of Kirkland, including any operation resulting in the fact that goods can be found outside of a building, for any period of time whatsoever.”

La Tour told The Suburban that he had hoped to contribute to his community by bringing a farmer’s market to the area, something that Kirkland lacks. The by-law in question, he said, made no sense to him.

“When the Government of Quebec encourages municipalities to improve the qualify of life of citizens, why is our initiative to help improve the qualify of life of citizens with the distribution and sale of locally grown produce, handmade clothing and jewelry denied to us?” he said.

La Tour also expressed skepticism at the fact that the by-law forbidding the sale of goods seemingly did not apply to city events such as Kirkland carnival and Kirkland multicultural day, but did prevent himself and other residents from organising an outdoor market of their own.

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