Next steps in cannabis legislation

Cannabis has been a hot topic item continuously gracing council agendas within the last year.

With less than a month to go, council members are quickly preparing final touches and furthering community engagement as to how to proceed for their town or village.

On Wed. Sept. 19, Alix Council decided to do a number of things in order to prepare themselves and citizens for legalization on October 17.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White explained a few areas on the north side of Alix where they are quite far removed from the local school and would not be in an area that would conflict with other legislation.

“It would be rather limited for potential locations but, that being said, those locations actually seem fitting,” said White.

A downside to the specifically zoned area dubbed as “C2” or “High Commercial” is the limited amount of cannabis stores that can be built there.

Coun. Tim Besuijen mentioned that Red Deer council limited their amount of stores to 35 within city limits. So far only 14 have applied and been accepted.

“Regarding cannabis consumption just again wanting to check and see where we are at as far as that goes so that I can draft a bylaw for you,” said White. “Seeing how it is something that council has made such a strong stand on, some communities have gone with no public consumption in their bylaws and just seeing if that is where you guys might be at or if you wanted to have us looking at designating specific public areas where it would be permitted.”

CAO White mentioned that many communities have held their public hearing at a separate time rather than having it before the regular council meeting.

These communities also hosted Alberta Health Services who gave a presentation in order to get feedback from multiple sources and to educate the public.

Once the public hearing is closed they will hand out a physical paper survey to take in this feedback on consumption.

“We need to get accurate information out to the public and that’s the way to do it,” said Mayor Rob Fehr.

Coun. Ed Cole added, “I liked your idea on here that it’s also a paper survey on hand so that they don’t have to make public comments, I really like that.”

Cole had mentioned at previous meetings about his concerns for those who wish to share their thoughts without getting ridiculed from the opposing side of the argument.

Council agreed to have staff develop a land use bylaw amendment to allow for public feedback at the public hearing which will be held before second reading of said bylaw.

They also moved to engage the public in a survey at a public consultation forum at the community hall.

A date has yet to be determined.

Water pump gets fixes after fallout

The village recently forked over approximately $16,000 out of unbudgeted emergency reserves to fix a water pump as it failed.

Although the remaining pump still runs, a secondary pump is needed to keep everything fully operational and allow the pumps to cycle.

As certain parts have been replaced or repaired, they decided to replace the bearings at the same time to save time and energy.

The pump is expected to return within the first or second week of October.

“That’s never something that you want to see happen,” said CAO White.

The CAO also mentioned that the main lift station rebuild is potentially commencing as early as next month. Final completion date is expected to be at the end of January.

Council members attend Rahr Malting 25th anniversary

During council reports, both Coun. Barb Gilliat and Mayor Fehr attended the 25th anniversary for local business Rahr Malting on Sept. 14.

Roughly 150 people, including dignitaries, were there for the event. The mayor mentioned that a commemorative plaque in recognition of the quarter-century milestone may be in order.

“I think that is something we should perhaps consider because they have been a very big part of this community. They’ve done a lot of volunteer work, a lot of good things for this community,” said Fehr.

After talk of how the plaque could work, Mayor Fehr made a motion to direct administration to seek a suitable award that could be given to Rahr Malting in honour of their anniversary.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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