The operator of a Maple Ridge petting zoo shut down by the city this week said she hopes to reopen in March.
Leanne Lefebvre has “zero dispute with the city” and was surprised by a recent cease and desist order that closed Meadows Family Farm Petting Zoo, located at 24331 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
Lefebvre said the city set a deadline of Oct. 1 to meet all licensing requirements. However, she believed that deadline was fluid, and the business could continue to operate with interim permits as long as it was making progress toward compliance.
The city said Meadows Family Farm was operating without a business licence. Nor did it have approvals from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and Fraser Health.
The city also said structures were added to the property that had not been constructed with permits and inspections.
Lefebvre, a lifelong Maple Ridge resident, said the farm was working to comply.
Hand wash stations satisfied Fraser Health.
Fire extinguishers were added to barns the day that a fire inspector said they were necessary.
The ALC said a children’s playground was non-conforming, and rather than pay a $1,500 fee to apply for an exemption, they removed it.
The SPCA had no concerns.
Lefebvre has permits for the buildings and said, after some roof work, they were weeks away from being ready for a final inspection.
“Not only were we making progress, we were almost complete.”
She noted the buildings in question are animal pens, which will not be occupied by people, nor have electrical wiring.
Some were gazebos built off-site and brought to the farm.
Lefebvre paid for two business licences at the city’s direction – one for the petting zoo, the other for farm retail sales.
The hobby farm will sell eggs, poultry, lamb, pumpkins and vegetables, and have the petting zoo as an agri-tourism attraction.
“People have loved it – we’ve had an amazing response from the community,” she said.