A group of people in support of Chilliwack’s Reapers Haunted Attraction were outside city hall Saturday to protest the shut-down of the popular Halloween destination.
The #SaveReapers event was billed as a “peaceful protest” in support of Gary and Lisa Moran, the family that owns Fantasy Farms and runs the annual attraction, according to organizer Rick Hopp.
The business has been in dispute with the City of Chilliwack for the past four years. Most recently, the city said the Morans would not be granted a temporary use permit (TUP) because the greenhouse where Reapers is housed is not in compliance with building code regulations.
A two-page information sheet titled ‘Facts of Fantasy Farms vs the City’ was printed out for people to read at the event.
It outlined a timeline from when the Morans purchased the farm back in 1992 to the present, and states the problems started in 2016 when changes were made to the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“To say they have not been in compliance for the last four years is completely misleading” the statement reads, in part. “As soon as they received the OK from the [Agricultural Land Commission] they started doing what the city asked and only then did the city stop working with them.
“The statement from the Mayor saying that they have not taken public safety or have not been in compliance with the authorities having jurisdiction i.e. the Chilliwack fire department and BC safety authority (electrical inspection) is again wrong. They have done everything asked and have expressed their willingness to do all the remediation work necessary.”
It also mentioned Policy L-22: Permanent facilities must not be constructed or erected for any event activity.
The statement continued on to say that nowhere in the report was it mentioned that their greenhouses are unsafe.
“There should be an actual grandfather clause that protects business when a change in government at any level greatly affects a company.”
About 25 people were there at the beginning of the protest on Saturday, Oct. 3, some holding signs which read “Chilliwack cares! Bring back the scares!” and “Jeepers creepers, re-open Reapers.”
The event began at noon and they were planning on staying for several hours Saturday afternoon, Hopp said.