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Maple Ridge petting zoo shut down due to safety concerns

The city of Maple Ridge is shutting down a local petting zoo due to safety concerns and lack of permits but the zoo operators say they understood that the city's deadline was fluid.

Petting zoo operated without permits and didn't meet a city deadline the operator saw as 'fluid'

Meadows Family Farm Petting Zoo has been forced to close after it failed to comply with license and permit requirments. (Meadows Family Farm/Facebook)

The City of Maple Ridge has served a formal notice to close an unlicensed petting zoo that had been operating at Meadows Family Farm due to a lack of permits and safety concerns.

Last June, the city discovered the petting zoo had been operating without a business license after receiving traffic complaints about more vehicles visiting the site.

Manager of Bylaws and Licensing Services, Michelle Orsetti said health and safety concerns were key issues.

"It's safety. It's all down to safety. The issues are that there are no permits in place for the structures and for the goings on at that property."

Orsetti says the city had tried to work with the petting zoo operators and granted them a temporary business license valid until October 1, so they could fulfill the proper requirements and obtain approvals and permits from the Agricultural Land Commission and Fraser Health.

But Orsetti said that hasn't happened and instead the city found more new structures during an inspection on October 8.

Leanne Lefebvre operates the petting zoo and said her understanding after a meeting with city staff was that the deadline was "fluid".

She said  her understanding was "that we would be given extra time as long as we were starting to pull the permits and do the work needed."

Lefebvre said all the work would have been done in two weeks.

She said she plans on having the permits and business license in place and to reopen next March.

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