The City of Surrey has approved building permits for 20 gingerbread houses at Bayridge Elementary.
Grade 1 students in Monique van Teunenbroek’s class at Bayridge Elementary School in South Surrey drafted a letter to the planning department, asking for permission to build 20 gingerbread houses on Dec. 14.
The letter, written in green and red ink, said the students would use candy cane, cookies, icing and chocolate, but they “will not use wood or nails.”
“We will not chop down any trees or knock down any houses,” the letter reads. “We will not take any farmland away.”
The letter also notes that a student named Hugo said the gingerbread houses will cost “a lot of dough.”
The project, van Teunenbroek said, is a “quick little lesson.”
“It’s a lesson on bylaws and what the city does for us and the permission we need to some things,” van Teunenbroek said. “I talk to the kids about building permits and how you really need to have a building permit to build a house and you need a permit from city hall to cut down trees and knock down houses.”
She said she has done this project with students about four times now.
“I said, ‘Let’s play a joke on city hall because we don’t need permits to build gingerbread houses… they’d get a good giggle out of it.’”
Dated Dec. 12, the city’s building division responded to the letter from van Teunenbroek’s class.
Staff approved the Grade 1’s request, adding that the class must “ensure all gingerbread builders are licensed for gingerbread and candy construction.” Staff also said access for Santa Claus and his reindeer is “required.”
Class at Bayridge Elementary applies to @CityofSurrey for building permit for #gingerbread house and gets great response. So cute. #surreybc #sd36learn #hohoho #whiterockbc requires driveway of marshmallows or like material #capital pic.twitter.com/zK82t0Q54G
— Jordan Tinney (@jordantinney) December 18, 2018
Staff also requested that once construction has been completed, to please contact the building division “for a final taste testing inspection.”
Attached to staff’s letter was the building permit which showed the 20-gingerbread development to be in the Candy Cane Lane zone. Additional comments included that construction material for sanity, storm and water connections is to be “licorice or like material;” the driveway on city property is to be “constructed of marshmallows or like material;” and street lights and poles are to be built with “candy canes or like material.”
A restrictive covenant was included that Christmas music “must be played during construction.”
City staff, van Teunenbroek said, are “very good sports” about the project. She said that most of the children understand the project is a joke, and a way to spread a “little Christmas cheer.”