Marijuana, invasive plants, BC Timber Sales and affordable housing were topics at the April 19 Sunshine Coast Regional District’s (SCRD) planning committee.
Planning technician Lesley-Ann Staats acknowledged the current marijuana zoning discussions in the District of Sechelt in her report to the committee.
The committee voted to pen a letter to Health Canada requesting opportunities for local government to become engaged in the agency’s considerations surrounding commercial licences for medicinal pot growers.
“SCRD zoning bylaws do not differentiate between legal crops and illegal crops, as that is the purview of the federal Criminal Code,” Staats wrote in the report. “Cultivation and the commercial sale of medical marijuana would be considered a permitted use in all SCRD zones that permit agriculture. However, provincial and federal regulations place limits on this.”
The committee amended a recommendation that SCRD staff working with the Coastal Invasive Plant Council (CIPC) co-ordinate dates for training to include all SCRD park staff.
According to planning staff, the SCRD’s current goals include community education, prioritizing control projects and creating an inventory of invasive plant species.
The regional district joined CIPC last year, acquiring access to resources like the province’s invasive alien plant program database.
Gibsons director LeeAnn Johnson said she would like to see local plant nurseries taking steps to help the SCRD with its awareness and control goals.
“It just occurs to me, most of the nursery operators around here are pretty co-operative, caring people, and I would really like to encourage them to start flagging some of the products that they’re selling,” she said and added that invasive plants are doing “a lot of damage in very, very remote places.”
BC Timber Sales
The committee recommended that BC Timber Sales (BCTS) be informed of the SCRD’s lack of support for logging in the Dakota community watershed, including cutblock A79517.
The planning committee also passed recommendations that BCTS be invited to speak to the board about harvesting initiatives. The committee also affirmed its opposition to the harvesting of old-growth trees.
The planning department also presented an email they received from BCTS planning forester Norm Kempe, which confirmed that harvesting of cutblock A87124 — the subject of considerable community animosity — is expected to begin this spring.
Kempe confirmed that BCTS might include three cutblocks, two near Dakota Ridge and one close to Mount Elphinstone Provincial Park, into current old-growth management areas.
“I am hopeful that this is seen as a demonstration that we are listening and responsive to local concerns expressed over our harvesting plans,” Kempe wrote to planning staff in March.