Council will be following through on plans to develop a bylaw to regulate cannabis cultivation operations across Brock Township.
At Monday’s (March 25) meeting of the planning committee, members of council passed a motion directing staff to proceed with the development of an interim control bylaw after receiving a report from consultant Kent Randall outlining the process.
Randall and CAO Thom Gettinby both made it clear that the bylaw will address land-use compatibility issues related to the cultivation of cannabis – not recreational sales or operations that are looking to set up shop in areas already zoned for industrial use.
“The interim control bylaw will provide the Township with some breathing room,” Randall said.
“The bylaw will focus on the cultivation of cannabis, principally in the rural areas,” Gettinby added.
Once it is enacted – which could happen as early as next month – it will provide a framework for future applications.
“It can’t be applied retroactively to facilities that exist,” Gettinby told members of council.
It also won’t play a role in the renewal of applications or modifications to existing operations.
“If there’s a renewal, it would be permitted under the interim control bylaw,” Randall said.
“It may be very hard to say ‘No’ if it’s an expansion…it’s already been established,” Gettinby added.
Responding to a question from Ward 1 Councillor Mike Jubb, Gettinby said he wasn’t expecting a “rush” of applications prior to the bylaw’s approval.
Council directed staff to look into the possibility of passing an interim control back in January, after passing a motion requesting that Health Canada not renew any applications until municipal concerns about odour control and security are met.
A month prior, councillors had requested a meeting with Health Canada related to concerns surrounding a medicinal cannabis operation on Concession 11. A second facility, located on Concession 4 Thorah, was robbed at gunpoint back in October.
“We’ve had security issues in Brock. We’ve had odour control issues in Brock,” Mayor Bath-Hadden said at the time.
In addition to the two local sites that are already up-and-running, Mayor Bath-Hadden also that she’s heard rumblings that a medicinal cannabis company has also expressed an interest in a 200-acre property in the Beaverton area.
“We’re not suggesting – we’re demanding – that they not renew another license until we get the information we asked for,” Mayor Bath-Hadden said.
While Township staff have reached out to Health Canada, no response has been received.
“The federal government is not always that forthcoming,” CAO/Clerk Thom Gettinby told members of council in January.
“I think this (motion) might get their attention,” quipped Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell.
To date, no response from Health Canada has been received.