Wednesday, October 3, 2018
IN THE NEWS
Community Peace Officer Program
At County Council meeting on Tuesday, September 25th, Council reviewed the CPO report and program including statistics and operation. Currently there are 3.5 CPO positions as council had voted in January not to hire for the 5th, vacant position. Instead they had directed Administration to review the impacts of the reduction in positions. The report was presented and council has now directed Administration to bring back the 5th position as part of the 2019 budget discussions.
Bylaw Amendment Hearing
Clearwater County Council will be addressing an amendment to their “Cannabis Retail Sales & Cannabis Production Facilities” Bylaw at a Public Hearing on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 9:00AM in Council Chambers. This hearing comes following a July 24th hearing that dealt with Element GP Inc.’s proposal to establish a cannabis production facility along Hwy. 22 about halfway between Caroline and Sundre. During that hearing it was noted that this development contravened the set-back restrictions written in the Cannabis Bylaw established by this council in March 2018.
Consequently, on August 28, the Planning Department brought forward proposed amendments to that Land Use Bylaw. Council then proceeded to pass First Reading of the amendments and scheduled a Public Hearing for October 9th, prior to passing 2nd and 3rd reading.
The contentious part of the original bylaw was the part where it stated, “All cannabis production facilities applying for a development permit on an industrial parcel not located within a business park must be located outside a 300m. radius from a property boundary that has any of the following attributes…” . The attributes include a residence, school, church, recreation facility, etc..
The new proposed amendment will remove the words, “a property boundary that has ”. This effectively permits a cannabis operation to be much closer to the above mentioned facilities, allowing it to go almost anywhere in the rural part of the county.
By comparison, neighboring counties with already established bylaws on this are much more restrictive. Red Deer and Mountain View Counties allow cannabis production facilities only in business or industrial parks. In Ponoka County any cannabis related development is under “Direct Control”---dealt with by council directly. Lacombe and Brazeau are in the process of developing their bylaws on this matter.
These cannabis production facilities are normally large (55,000 Sq. Ft. plus) facilities with accompanying traffic, noise, lighting, odor, and security concerns. We encourage everyone to express their opinion on where you feel they should be allowed. Call your councillor. Write a letter/e-mail regarding your opinion. ABOVE ALL, TRY TO COME TO THE PUBLIC HEARING ON OCTOBER 9TH.
It is particularly disturbing to me that a very pro-active, reasonable, justifiable Land Use Bylaw established by this council, is now being considered for amendment…all because the current wording would prevent a company out of Calgary from establishing a large marijuana “grow-op” in their chosen location, though it has been suggested they would be welcome in any of the industrial parks in the county. There has been significant opposition expressed by residents in the area and the current bylaw provided them with valid grounds for fighting the development.
However, in the proposed amendment the restrictive words would be deleted allowing this company, and potentially any others, to establish anywhere they wish in the county.
Throughout each of the development steps to date, the concerns of the adjoining neighbors as well as other residents of the county have gone unheeded…all in the face of “economic development”. The comments/concerns from long-standing, honorable taxpayers/supporters of this county have been completely ignored in favor of an unknown, unproven, upstart company heralding large financial benefit.
It reminds me of the age old saying, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
October 9, 2018, 9:00AM, Public Hearing, Council Chambers
October 11, 2018, 7:30PM, Regular CCTA Monthly Meeting, Arbutus Hall
November 8, 2018, 8:00PM, Leslieville Community Hall, Special Event Speaker on Rural Crime Issues