On May 16, Sechelt council once again gave first and second reading to a zoning amendment bylaw that would restrict commercial medicinal marijuana production to industrial areas. A perusal of the bylaw by District solicitors prompted a wording change and the need to rescind previous readings at the Wednesday night council meeting.
“There was an irregularity so we modified the bylaw. There’s been some very minor changes made to it,” said director of development services Ray Parfitt.
The new bylaw adds a clause that will prohibit commercial growing in any area other than those zoned for the purpose.
Council rescinded the previous readings and then debated the issue again, with Coun. Chris Moore making his distaste for the bylaw known.
“We have it on record from our solicitor that in all probability this will be challenged on the charter of rights. As soon as we zone this into industrial zoning, somebody down the road who’s cultivating five plants in his or her house is going to challenge this,” Moore said. “This is just going to be like smacking a hornet’s nest.”
Coun. Darnelda Siegers said the new bylaw would not change the federal rules that allow growing for personal use in homes.
“There’s a big difference. This is a commercial type venture,” Parfitt said.
Still, Moore was not persuaded.
“I know it’s coming down. There are going to be certain people in certain zonings and they are going to challenge this … and I say what’s the benefit for us right now? We’ve got bigger fish to fry and we should be dropping this and maybe looking at it next year,” Moore said.
Coun. Doug Hockley also spoke against the bylaw, saying he is resentful that the federal government has placed municipalities in a position where they must try to regulate something they don’t ultimately have control over.
When the vote was called to give readings to the proposed zoning amendment bylaw again, Moore and Hockley voted against, but a majority vote in favour passed the motion.
Now a public hearing will be scheduled for the community to have their say on the proposed new bylaw.