Cannabis bylaw passes final reading

Clive Council dived into second and third reading of the cannabis bylaw during their regular council meeting on Mon. Oct. 29.

Up until this point, the village was ruled under provincial and federal law but with this bylaw in place, the village will have an extra layer of legislation.

Clarification was provided on the differences between emissions and aerosols and the legalities behind medical marijuana and baked cannabis products like brownies.

Residents will be permitted to smoke within the confinements of their home but are not allowed to smoke cannabis while on public property such as streets, sidewalks, parking lots, school areas and arenas.

This includes any motor vehicle located in a public place or in any place open to public view.

Council then passed second and third reading, making the bylaw official.

Fire Service Policy Manual

Drayton Bussiere, Fire Chief of Lacombe County Fire Services, visited Clive council chambers to talk about the recent updates to the Fire Service Policy Manual that covers the county.

The policy modifications have been going on for roughly a year as there was originally seven manuals, one per municipality within the county.

Bussiere explained that the manual takes out redundant wording, updates protocol and ultimately gives each fire department consistent rules to follow when attending a scene.

This single manual will also help make annual updating easier. The manual has been reduced significantly from 180 pages to 92.

The Fire Chief appointment had changes where the county will go through a formal hiring process as opposed to an internal election.

Interested persons will apply for the position by resume where they may be hired by county and municipality.

An annual vote of confidence will be put in place to make sure members are happy with the new chief as well.

“One of the big changes that we had some discussion about initially was that currently fire chiefs are appointed and the county memberships have an election and then they bring their recommendation forward to council.

“What changes with this manual is that when a fire chief changes, we will actually go through more of a formal hiring process for that position as opposed to an election,” said Bussiere.

High school students will have the opportunity to get fire certifications and credits as the manual will allow work experience students.

A new fit for duty policy will be set in place to focus on physical fitness, mental well being and rules on drugs and alcohol use as apart of the Lacombe County Abuse Prevention Policy.

The Scope of Practice and Service Level Agreement had loose scopes before the updates.

This new document will guide operations of the fire departments, the level they train to and what equipment they should use.

It also encompasses average response times like the shoot time of the first unit capable of reaching and handling the scene.

Once the manual passes each municipality, it will be adopted countywide.

Municipal Cannabis Transition Program response

Larger urban centres are concerned with the transition from illegal to legal cannabis use as taxpayer money has funded for this transition through education, signage and so forth.

According to the Municipal Cannabis Transition Program (MCTP) announced in October, over 215 urban municipalities will be forced to cover legalization costs on their own while only 52 towns, cities and urban service areas will receive minimal funding.

The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) has been advocating for municipalities to receive a fair share of the province’s excise tax revenues as part of a “user pay” model to cover the costs associated with legalization.

Municipalities are tasked with community education and enforcement, including responses to complaints of consumption in prohibited areas. These costs will be paid out of municipal budgets, instead of from the taxes collected from cannabis sales.

Under the new MCTP, eligible expenses include municipal administration costs directly related to cannabis legalization including land use bylaws and permitting; education and marketing regarding local rules for cannabis consumption; and administrative and enforcement staffing costs.

These are expenses that municipalities of all sizes have and will continue to incur, but only a limited number of municipalities are eligible to apply for funding under the program – and only if they meet the criteria.

The AUMA provided a sample letter that could be sent to the Alberta government to show support for their position.

Council asked for a dollar value on what has been spent for legalization within the village but Chief Administrative Officer Carla Kenney mentioned that it wasn’t a large contribution, less than $5,000, compared to larger centres.

“My thoughts on this is that it’s coming down to the communities that are going to be using signage around their communities so the payment for the signage in order to have it out there, that type of item for a larger city, yeah, you definitely have an expense,” said Coun. Jeremy Whelan.

Mayor Luci Henri added, “It’s also the cost of the bylaw enforcement and the public consultation so obviously in the bigger centres they’ve had many town hall meetings and a lot of money has been spent.”

Clive council felt they should support the larger centres by sending a letter to the MLA supporting the AUMA’s position in a ‘less aggressive tone’ than the sample letter provided.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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