Pubdate: Mon, 18 Sep 2017
Source: Tribune, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Page: A3


Wainfleet planning staff will consult with the township's lawyer
before a report comes back on a possible municipal licensing policy to
deal with proposed medical marijuana growing facilities, council heard
last week.

Township planner Sarah Ivins said Wainfleet doesn't have a municipal
licensing policy and staff had questions as to whether it could
implement one to deal with a medical marijuana facility or that
specific type of use.

"We want to make sure we cover all of our bases before we propose
options for council … there's a lot to consider before a staff
report," she said, adding one may be ready by the first week of
October when council next meets.

Discussion about a municipal licensing policy or bylaws for medical
marijuana facilities came about after a presentation by resident
Graeme Ross on a marijuana facility at the east end of Wilford Road.

"I am here on behalf of the residents of east Wilford Road as a
followup to our presentation at the last council meeting. In just nine
short days from our appeal for help at last council meeting, the
proposed medical marijuana grow-op located at 61770 Wilford Rd., the
former Railway Gardens Greenhouses, had a warrant served," said Ross.

Referring to a police report, he said Niagara Regional Police raided
the facility and located and seized 668 marijuana plants with an
estimated street value of $668,000. Two men were arrested and charged
by the NRP.

"There were no Health Canada licences in place. We are here tonight to
reiterate our need for help. Just because there has been a successful
warrant served and arrests made, we still need swift action on the
part of council to get the setback bylaw enforced for this particular
property and new municipal licensing and bylaw policies in place."

Ross said if a municipal licensing policy was already in place, the
issue would not exist. He said a new policy should include zero
tolerance for offences and noncompliance.

"This seizure and arrests are a definite step in the right direction
regarding this facility, keeping in mind an arrest does not mean a
conviction. But we cannot view this warrant as an end to the issues
with this facility."

He said once a licence is issued it will be even harder for council
and authorities to have access to the facility to assess what is
happening inside.

"Not to mention once again putting our neighbourhood at risk. Our
fight to keep this facility and others like it out of our township is
far from over and once again the time for action is now," said Ross.

"I put it to council that if this were to occur across the street from
your home, I suspect you would take the same kind of interest and have
the same passion in this as we do. You were elected by us … and every
street and road in Wainfleet is your street and road," he said at the
end of his presentation.

While council had no questions for Ross, Ald. Richard Dykstra asked
Ivins about bylaws and licensing in place in other

Ivins said Wainfleet residents gave her a copy of a Mississauga bylaw
and that police told her it was one of the best bylaws they had seen
in terms of regulating facilities.

In response to a question from Mayor April Jeffs, the planner said the
township does have a setback bylaw, which hasn't been enforced, and
site specific zoning bylaws as well.

She said township's lawyer was being consulted before any enforcement
takes place.

"If we press charges … we want to follow the right

Ald. Ted Hessels suggested sending the owners of the Wilford Road
property a copy of the setback bylaw so they would be aware of it.

"That would be proactive I think," said Hessels.

Ivins said that was being looked into as well.
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