Letter: Richmond farmer’s fine out of line

Dear Editor,

Re: “Farmer fined for 41-year-old sign,” News, June 13.

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I rarely feel moved to write a letter to the editor these days, but the headline in your June 13th edition made my blood boil.

I gauge the readiness of Richmond’s strawberry crop by Bill Zlymans’ sign at the Westminster and Knight Street T-intersection. I’ve lived in East Richmond for  more than 40 years and see his sign yearly, but it appears this is the first time the city has seen fit to enforce a silly bylaw.

Mr. Zylmans is a real farmer who promotes Richmond’s agricultural viability. As a past member of the city’s agricultural advisory committee, I’m sure he may have ruffled a few feathers standing up for the full-time farmer. This action by the city almost seems vindictive.

If the city truly wants to enforce a sign bylaw specifically on farmers, why not go after the ones that state “Blueberry” or “Carrot?” This is false advertising at the very least! I wonder what would happen if I went in and asked for just one?

I would urge the city to give real farmers some slack. The city’s Agricultural Viability Strategy should focus on policy that enhances farming instead of penalizing farmers for growing and promoting local produce.

De Whalen



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