HALTON HILLS, ON – While it’s a new issue for municipalities across Canada, Halton Hills is taking a proactive approach on dealing with the legalization of cannabis. Two reports were brought forward to Town Council; one, an overview on legislative areas of responsibility and municipal considerations, the other an analysis of land use planning and zoning options for siting commercial growing and processing operations.
“It’s a new issue and it’s a potentially controversial one,” said Mayor Rick Bonnette. “As a municipality, we have to work within the legislative confines of the other orders of government; that means firstly, recognizing the areas where we can have decision-making power and understanding what the impacts of those decisions might be.”
The legalization of cannabis was also a featured topic at the recent Association of Municipalities’ conference, further highlighting the fact that impacts of the legislation will be experienced at the local level.
The breadth of the cannabis issue is such that the Town has formed a working group comprising cross-departmental representation. Policy, by-laws, licencing, enforcement, building and fire code adherence, finance and communications are all areas that are/will experience impacts.
The planning report indicates that cannabis cultivation is an agricultural use, however options regarding zoning regulations for cannabis production facilities (i.e. cultivation and processing) are still to be developed and will include public consultation. The Town anticipates embarking on a multi-faceted public engagement program seeking input on proposed by-law revisions and zoning options.
The Town of Halton Hills, with a population of approximately 60,000, consists of two urban centres, Georgetown and Acton, the Halton Hills Premier Gateway employment area, three hamlets – Glen Williams, Stewarttown and Norval and several smaller settlements. Halton Hills has long been recognized for its natural beauty, active agricultural community, high quality of life and proximity to major centres, including Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto. The Town is ranked as one of the top small communities in Canada by a national magazine.
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