Taking their first step to gear up for the legalization of cannabis, Big Valley council held first reading of Bylaw 835 at their April 26 meeting.
This new bylaw, which is an amendment to Land Use Bylaw 765, includes definitions relating to the new cannabis legislation.
According to CAO Michelle White, “Bylaw 835 represents the first phase intended to define cannabis uses without including the recreational uses in any districts.
The exclusion of the uses from any of the land use districts will prevent any of the uses from being granted development permit approval.”
In addition to the recreational cannabis definitions, the proposed bylaw amendments include definitions for medical cannabis use.
This ‘definitions only’ amendment will require a public hearing before council can consider a second reading.
The next phase of the amendment process will focus on specific regulations relating to districts, setbacks, and any other regulations that may be required.
Further public consultations will be required to obtain community feedback before a second amending bylaw can be presented to council for consideration.
Accumulated surplus, up $166,760
Council approved the 2017 financial statements after being presented with a clean audit report from Justin Tanner of Gitzel and Company Chartered Accountants.
According to Tanner, the audit revealed “Nothing overly spectacular about the financials; which is a good thing.”
The village ended 2017 with $3,283,905 in accumulated surplus, up $166,760 from last year.
Taxes receivable are “kind of an anomaly,” Tanner remarked.
The fact that Big Valley’s taxes receivable went down from $68,766 in 2016 to $33,972 in 2017 is, according to Tanner, an enviable position to be in.
Su Balog, owner of All That Buzz Gift Shoppe Ltd. believes that council should consider requiring licenses for anyone planning to conduct business within the village corporate limits.
Apparently, she is not alone.
Big Valley business owners came to council to debate the issue.
Currently, Big Valley does not issue business licenses.
According to Balog, licensing would allow the village to know how many businesses were operating within the community and help identify what goods or services were missing in order to entice more businesses into Big Valley.
The village would have the authority to determine where outside vendors or peddlers could set up, ensuring adequate parking, garbage and noise control, reasonable hours of operation and prevent encroachment on public walkways, historical sites and local business premises.
Big Valley’s attracts many temporary vendors and peddlers throughout the busy tourist season.
Though advocating for a ‘nominal’ licensing fee for local business owners, Balog believes a ‘peddler’s license’ ought to have a more significant cost.
“I’m not willing to have them (peddlers) pay a $10 or $25 fee and come in here and do business and take away our livelihood when we live here, and we’re running a business here year-round.”
Council will consider all the implications of business licensing, including enforcement issues before making a decision.
New business owner, Rochelle Hughes approached council with a request to rent Big Valley’s Memorial Park to hold an ongoing market featuring area artisans, producers and growers.
Having just acquired a new business on Jimmy Jock’s Boardwalk, Hughes planned to host the market on the unused portion of her lot.
After receiving an overwhelming response on social media, Hughes realized the space would not accommodate all the interested vendors.
Hoping to run the market every day Alberta Prairie tourist trains are in Big Valley, Hughes is prepared to completely manage the market, dealing with insurance, restrooms, damages and clean up.
Residents expressed concern, believing Memorial Park, with its cenotaph, would not be an appropriate venue for the market.
Council will thoroughly research the request, including alternate locations, before making a decision.