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Pot bylaw gets no vocal support at hearing

Pot bylaw gets no vocal support at hearing

Sechelt Council will likely consider whether or not to proceed with amendments to its medical marijuana bylaw at its Oct. 7 meeting, a public hearing on the issue has been told.

Development planner Angela Letman told the hearing, held Sept. 9 at the Seaside Centre with about 25 members of the public attending, that council could then choose to pass the new bylaw, or send it out for more public consultation, or abandon the measure altogether.

The bylaw permits medical marijuana grow-ops only on Agricultural Land Reserve lots five hectares or larger, and on lots one-acre (0.4 hectare) or larger that are zoned Industrial, but only those designated I-3, I-5, I-6 or I-7. Some 50 other conditions, or “permitted uses,” also would apply, including compliance with all  federal regulations, and being located more than one kilometre from schools.

Eight people came forward at the hearing to offer opinions to council about the bylaw, and none spoke in favour of it.

Among the speakers was local businessman Mike Anderchek, who said he was “extremely disappointed” that council had opted to extend permitted use to industrial zones, especially I-6, saying, “they’re just too close to town.”

“I think we’re devaluing the community by continuing down this path,” Anderchek said, to applause.

Marc Nixon told council members the bylaw showed, “no respect for the property rights and quality of life of Sechelt residents.”

Nixon and other speakers also expressed concern over the content of waste water from grow-ops, while one other wondered about the enormous amount of incoming water required by growers at a time of drought.

With the exception of a few comments by Mayor Bruce Milne, no council members responded to what the speakers had to say, as is the usual practice at a public hearing.

Details of the proposed bylaw can be found online on the District of Sechelt website by typing “Medical Marihuana” into the site’s search engine.  

Rik Jespersen

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