News

Marijuana zoning bylaw stalled at public hearing

By Juliet Kadzviti/The Stonewall Argus & Teulon Times

The Town of Stonewall hosted a public hearing in council chambers on May 2 to discuss amending a zoning bylaw that would in essence determine where cannabis could be sold in the community, if and when it is legalized.


The amendment, as presented to the public, defined what a cannabis retail store was and specified it should be located a minimum distance of 300 metres from existing public and private schools and childcare services in the community.


As well, the cannabis retailer would need to enter into a development agreement with the town to discuss matters that include the appearance of the business, signage and hours of operation.


South Interlake Planning District General Manager Eric Shaw explained to attendees that the proposed bylaw’s specifications were derived from a zoning guide provided by the province, that had various options for municipalities to adopt or amend as needed.


One Main Street resident expressed that she and her mother, who has a business on Main Street, were against the bylaw. She told council the presence of a marijuana store did not fit the “vibe” of Stonewall and added 300m was close to businesses and schools, suggesting if it must come, it go to the town’s industrial park.


“It’s really a family-oriented community and you’ve really marketed it as that, and it’s a really small community base as well, so we feel that it does not fit in with the values that this community stands for,” she said. She later added she was not sure why the town was going ahead with the bylaw now and not waiting for the province to take the lead.
 

Mayor Lockie McLean explained the town, which is one of the first in the province to address this type of amendment, was doing its due diligence and preparing itself for the change in law. “We’re already into May and by August, we’re told it’s going to be legal, so time is ticking. Us working on this just makes sense. It’s our town and we know it’s coming,” McLean said.
 

Deputy Mayor Walter Badger noted 300m might be too restrictive, because of Main Street’s length. He asked Shaw if lessening the distance to 150metres  was a change that could easily be made. Shaw said he would consult about such a change before the bylaw could proceed.


“If that is the will of council, to proceed with that 150 metre change, then I would confirm with Community and Regional Planning that, that is a minor alteration, and then you can proceed with second reading at your next council meeting,” Shaw explained.


The bylaw was read a first time and passed on March 21 and was due for second and third reading on May 2. Significant changes to the proposed bylaw could potentially trigger a second public hearing.
 



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