Frosty the Snowman will be allowed to resume his post on the sidewalk in front of Vernon Teach and Learn Ltd., but next year he’ll have to pay rent.
Store owner Lynella Henke was told by bylaw officers on Thursday that the blow-up Frosty that’s been set up for the last eight years would have to be taken down, as it was too close to a parking meter on the street.
On Saturday that decision was reversed – sort of. Frosty will be allowed to stay on the sidewalk in future years so long as he has a permit, which will cost $100. Bylaw has waived the permit for the remaining two weeks of this year, but it will come into effect on January 1.
“Now it’s going up in the very same spot … with the exact same setup,” said Henke, adding that Frosty will be reinstated sometime next week.
On top of the $100 application fee, the permit charges $3 per square foot of space occupied – and yes, that does mean Frosty had to undergo a physical.
“They measured out how big Frosty’s waist is,” said Henke, who found out Frosty is about four square feet at the base and 12 feet high.
“It works out to about $150 for the permit.”
The permit is good for 12 months, but Henke says she’s only interested in having Frosty up for the few weeks around Christmas and the annual Light Up, meaning she’s paying for the rights to display Frosty all through the off-season.
“My issue was that we get to shovel the sidewalk all winter long, we get to sweep it all summer, we get to pressure wash it all summer, but we go to use a little piece to decorate for downtown and we get charged for it,” she said.
Henke asked the bylaw officers why there wasn’t a problem having Frosty up in the eight years prior to this Christmas season, but said they had no answer for her.
Before Thursday, Frosty had been on display for two weeks without complaint. The story has since snowballed, making news in the Lower Mainland.
“We’ve just had someone said they watched us on Vancouver news this morning,” said Henke.
Despite the permit, Vernon Teach and Learn gave their thanks to the City of Vernon for waiving the fee for the rest of this year.