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Feb. 27 council briefs: marijuana, Highway 1 properties, SD78

Council members listen to District of Hope staff speak at the Feb. 27 council meeting. - DISTRICT OF HOPE RATEPAYERS/YOUTUBE
Council members listen to District of Hope staff speak at the Feb. 27 council meeting.
— image credit: DISTRICT OF HOPE RATEPAYERS/YOUTUBE

Marijuana in the District

The District of Hope has decided to weed out any ambiguity about its marijuana policy at its Feb. 27 council meeting.

They will not approve any proposal that involves sale or dispensing of marijuana and paraphernalia unless decriminalization or legalization happens, whereby they will amend their bylaws to reflect the rulings.

“More and more communities are seeing applications,” said chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky, who said that marijuana is still illegal unless approved by Health Canada. “Some communities have decided to embrace chance, and we feel it’s a bit too early.

“We are a nation of law and since it’s illegal, it is our advice to council ... that we must obey the laws of the land.”

Fortoloczky added that any change in the laws towards marijuana will be complex involving federal, provincial and municipal government in areas such as regulation, distribution channels and impacts.

“Decriminalization or legalization will not be a light bulb on, light bulb off affair,” said Fortoloczky. “I don’t believe we want to be the first out of the block to allow certain activities ... when later, they can prove to be either illegal, contrary to provincial regulation, or quite frankly, a community mistake.”

Fortoloczky said it would be hard to rescind a business licence or amend the zoning bylaw.

Mayor Wilfried Vicktor highlighted that landlords need to be aware of what their tenants are doing because they might be on the hook for their tenants activities.

Extension for Highway 1 properties deadline denied

Council has denied Richard Madison a request to meet with council in the first week of May to talk about his properties at 489 and 508 Trans-Canada Highway.

Instead, they have reaffirmed their Feb. 14 motion where council has asked him to clean up and paint his properties by April 30 or face demolition at the Feb. 14 council meeting. Council has allowed Madison to appoint a representative to present his case or he can participate in a teleconference.

In his letter to councillors, Madison said he cannot make the March 13 council meeting to present his case because he is out of Canada until April 26. He also said that the April deadline makes it impossible to paint the exterior — a condition set by council — as paint will suffer damage in the winter. He said the best that can be done is by June 30.

Council wants to meet with SD78

Vicktor wants to set up a meeting with council and the Fraser-Cascade School District 78’s school board to discuss sharing facilities.

Those facilities include fields and recreation facilities.

“I’ve had calls from parents that said that the school district is now going to bus kids to the Agassiz pool which seems a little counter-productive and that will be starting soon,” said Vicktor.

Coun. Donna Kropp said she would like to see something concrete offered when they meet with the school board so that they would buy into the plan.

“In the past, we have discussed things like cost sharing as far as grass cutting and that kind of stuff with the school board” said Kropp. “We had a couple of meetings in the past 10-12 years but nothing evolved from that.”

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