A Maple Ridge, B.C., man will get to keep his homemade “Santa’s Village” up for the holiday season after getting a visit from the mayor Friday.
Earlier this week, bylaw officers threatened to shut down Don Taylor’s interactive Christmas village, which was open to the public and was set up at his home to raise money for his son’s autism learning centre.
The city had argued Taylor didn’t have a business licence and the home wasn’t permitted for “assembly use” including charity and other public events.
On Friday morning, Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden said he visited the Taylor home to have a look for himself.
“Everyone knows there’s always two sides to every story,” Morden said, while noting the municipal bylaws were in place to protect young people visiting the display.
“I’m happy to report Santa’s Village will remain open, while Mr. Taylor and staff work through the various concerns raised,” the mayor confirmed in a message to Global News.
Taylor said he heard the news from the city later on Friday.
While he’ll be allowed to remain open for the rest of his already-scheduled dates this year, the city told him he’ll have to get the proper approvals in place if he wants to set up again in 2020.
“The mayor didn’t seem happy with bureaucratic red tape being thrown at me when it’s not being thrown at other people,” he said. “So I was happy to see that get put aside.”
Taylor was keen to remind people that he shouldn’t be considered a business, as he wasn’t going to keep any money raised from visitors.
Instead, all the proceeds are going to the local Chrysta Learning Centre, a local school committed to teaching students with autism and special needs.
The large, intricate display stretches outside and inside the home, where visitors can find decorations, toys, snacks and refreshments. Taylor and his wife also pose for pictures as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Taylor has said he also provides services as a Santa-for-hire for private visits and home parties.