Council explores cannabis regulations

Bashaw Council has given first reading to Bylaw 786 being a bylaw surrounding the use of cannabis within the Town of Bashaw.

Discussed at the Thurs. Dec. 6 meeting, council looked at a number of factors surrounding the bylaw including regulations put in place by the provincial government they must follow.

More discussion is yet to take place but council is encouraging residents to speak their mind about the proposed bylaw.

Prohibition was listed as each person will not be allowed to smoke or vape on public property such as parks and the arena.

To further this, no one “shall cause or permit the consumption of cannabis on property they own or occupy if the consumption is likely to disturb the peace of any other individual.”

A number of factors including the time of day and the form of cannabis consumption will be considered.

Penalties for smoking in a public place or disturbing the peace as a first offense will cost the person $250. Any further offences will cost $500.

Tourist Booth request

On Tues. Nov. 20, Town Administration became aware of an event being hosted in the Tourism Booth often reserved for summer months.

The Recreation Board had provided access to a group of local artisans from Nov. 30 to Dec. 22 for their ‘Humbug Bizarre’ event.

This happened to not be in the lease agreement which annually runs from May 1 to September 30. It was presumed to be year round.

They offered to have the group host their event in the foyer of arena instead of the tourism booth.

The artisans declined the offer, insisting on the use of the Tourism Booth.

The space is not designed for extended use during the winter months as it only has baseboard heaters on site.

This concerned administration staff because of the limited amount of warmth and the use of additional electricity that was not anticipated.

They did, however, allow the group to continue but asked they pay $20 per day to cover costs of the electricity usage and cover any additional electricity bill costs if they exceed the amount collected.

“The benefit though is the site is being used for local artisan exposure and opportunity to share their wares. The disadvantage is there is an increased electrical cost,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller.

Coun. Rob McDonald asked for a ‘ballpark’ estimate as to how much energy they will use.

CAO Fuller reinstated they will not know until the numbers come in at the end of the month.

It was explained by members of the artisan group that they are coming in an hour early each day to give the heater time to heat the space.

“Besides the power use, I have a little bit of a problem with the whole thing,” said Deputy Mayor Rosella Peterman. “Well, first off, you don’t go and make all your arrangements for something and then ask permission. That right there kind of set me off. I’m sorry.

“I’d like to see it used but it seemed to me that most of the use was for non-profits. Now I know the farmers market not so much but now this is used completely for a group for profit for their own personal use.”

Peterman concluded saying the lease agreement, if looked at again, should have a higher price to cover costs such as this.

“Twenty bucks a day is probably reasonable. For a month that’s only 600 bucks a month. There’s no way we are using that much power,” said McDonald.

Council agreed to continue with the $20 per day fee and any extra charges that arise are the artisan groups responsibility.

Water price discussion

As per the Highway 12/21 Water Commission water rate increase, council has been bracing for impact. The Commission hopes to put $60,000 in reserves in case of essential technology upgrades and pipeline work.

Council wants the community to voice their opinion about this potential jump and how they plan to move forward.

Coun. McDonald brought up an idea about how to go about the mandatory request by the Commission for this reserve funding.

“We are willing to contribute to the reserve our share but we are going to hold on to it until you need it. That way we know it’s going to be there when you need it,” said McDonald.

Mayor Penny Shantz then asked what was in the business plan.

“We can certainly approach them on it in that capacity but they will probably be like ‘No, that’s not a part of the agreement’,” said CAO Fuller.

Other municipalities on this commission have voiced similar feelings towards the reserves, saying $60,000 is too high of a jump at this time and that $40,000 would be much more reasonable as it allows the municipalities time to slowly increase their rates.

“I think the best we can do is hopefully Clive will put that motion forward and we can all speak in support of it. I think there may be others in support of this as well based on our last meeting,” said Peterman.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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