HALTON HILLS, ON – The issue of whether or not to allow retail cannabis stores in Halton Hills prompted Town Council to request that an online survey planned for release in January be launched immediately.
“It’s clear by the level of debate that occurred at last night’s meeting that we need to hear further from the public. We had three good delegations but we need to hear all sides of this issue to determine whether we will allow brick and mortar cannabis shops in our municipality,” said Mayor Rick Bonnette.
All three delegations accompanied by supporters, requested Town Council to accept retail stores. Municipalities are automatically opted in and have until January 22, 2019 to opt out. The staff recommendation was for Council to opt out on an interim basis while a fulsome (January – March 2019) public consultation program could be launched. Municipalities can opt in at any point after January 22.
“The landscape keeps changing,” said the Mayor. “That was certainly the message delivered in staff’s presentation. This isn’t something we could plan for, given the change in direction by the provincial government. Regardless, I remain committed to honouring the intent of our Public Engagement Charter – we consult our community on issues of importance.”
The Mayor noted that the tight deadline and holiday period isn’t the ideal time to launch an effective public engagement program.
The Town’s online engagement platform, haltonhills.ca/letstalkhaltonhills.ca provides the public the opportunity to provide input on retail cannabis stores and other related issues. The findings of the consultation will be presented to Council who will determine whether sufficient input has been received to support decision-making in advance of the January 22 deadline.
In addition to the online survey, the municipality will solicit input at various sites throughout Town in early January.