Primo’s Mexican Grill has taken issue with the City of White Rock after the restaurant was told to remove a Mexican flag from its entrance.
General manager Samantha McQuade told Peace Arch News that a city bylaw officer visited the waterfront restaurant Monday and told them to remove one of the two Mexican flags – which each measure 55cm by 88cm – that fly above their patio or else they would receive a violation ticket.
McQuade said the bylaw officer told them that someone filed a complaint with the city about the flags.
“First off, this is ridiculous that this is even being enforced,” McQuade told PAN Monday. “I’ve never heard of anything like this in my life.”
A general provision in Bylaw 1923, consolidated in 2015, says that a sign permit is not required “for a commemorative plaque, cornerstone, or patriotic flag.”
“What the bylaw officer is saying is that the words ‘for a’ means that you can only have one,” McQuade told PAN.
“The bylaw doesn’t state one flag, it says for a commemorative plaque, etc. So if I have one flag up, does that also mean that I’m not allowed to have a plaque?”
City of White Rock communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi told PAN Monday that the city received a complaint about the flags from “a member of the public.”
Farrokhi said the city’s bylaw only permits one flag per establishment.
“When receiving Bylaw related complaints, the City takes more of a raise awareness and education approach, which is why, our Bylaw Officer, informed Primo’s Restaurant that they were not in compliance,” Farrokhi wrote.
McQuade said the “trivial” issue is a point of frustration, and the restaurant feels “unfairly targeted.” She made note of other businesses on Marine Drive that fly more than one flag.
“Your concern is really to come and tell us we’re going to get a ticket for flying a Mexican flag out of the window?”
McQuade said the flags have been flying for a number of months, and were hung in response to visibility issues caused by Giraffe restaurant, which permanently closed its doors in November, 2017.
Giraffe, which is located three doors down from Primo’s (15069 Marine Dr.), is partly concealed by a large hedge.
“Right now, Giraffe has their bushes growing so far across the sidewalk that when you’re standing down the street you can’t see the restaurants up here. We put up the flags so people could see that there’s something up here,” McQuade said.