Bonnyville Novelle – Council approves development permits for cannabis retail outlets

Town council approved two development permit applications for cannabis retail outlets in Bonnyville during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Town council approved two development permit applications for cannabis retail outlets in Bonnyville during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

The Hive Cannabis Company and Canna Cabana have met the town’s requirements when it comes to choosing a location for their businesses.

Hive Cannabis is hoping to set-up shop at 5504 50 Ave., while Canna Cabana plans to be located at 5506 50 Ave.

The town’s planning and development department received some concerns from adjacent landowners about the proposed locations for the shops, which Coun. Elisa Brosseau echoed during council’s discussions of the application for Canna Cabana.

“I just wanted to point out what the one feedback was on this business, just that I thought it was a good point that she stated that they weren’t local. Even from their application, they’re from Cold Lake, and they’re getting their signs made in Calgary,” Brosseau noted, adding she wanted to support businesses in town.

There was one variance required for the Hive Cannabis Company due to the proximity to a park by Jessie Lake, however, their application was approved with the conditions.

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Town discusses first draft of budgets

Budget season is underway for the Town of Bonnyville.

Administration presented the first draft of the 2019 operational and capital budgets on Tuesday.

The town is currently sitting with an operating deficit of $819,561.

“As with every year at this time, this is the first draft of the budget so we’re going to see deficits of some kind,” noted assistant CAO Bill Rogers.

While council discussed options to balance it, administration offered suggestions such as pushing the 2019 census to 2020 and raising property taxes by two per cent.

A motion was required for the first draft of the 2019 capital budget because the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA) needed confirmation the town would be financially supporting the purchase of a new ambulance. This would be in partnership with the MD of Bonnyville, so the town would only be required to cover half of the costs.

“We would be looking at balancing this out of $25,000 in the motion,” noted Mayor Gene Sobolewski, adding the budget would include the possibility of another ambulance purchase in 2019.

The capital budget has a deficit of roughly $35,000, though that doesn’t include new or carried over expenses, along with other costs that haven’t been identified yet.

An open house will held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.in council chambers to give residents the chance to go over the budget numbers, ask questions, and offer their input.

Administration will present an updated version of both budgets to council following the open house.

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Cannabis smoking bylaw passes first reading

Council passed the first reading of the amended cannabis smoking bylaw after voting to restrict public consumption similarly to alcohol at a previous meeting.

This means cannabis consumption would only be permitted in designated spaces or private property.

Now that the amendment passed first reading, a public hearing a public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 13 to give residents a chance to voice their opinions on the matter before it moves onto second and third reading.

Another topic discussed was enforcement, along with what would be done if someone was caught smoking marijuana in a prohibited area.

“If we’re treating (cannabis) like tobacco, if someone’s smoking in a public space, do we confiscate the product when issuing the ticket? If you’re dealing with cannabis, do you confiscate the cannabis as evidence in the report?” expressed Coun. Brian McEvoy.

Rogers said alcohol is seized in a similar scenario, while people smoking in prohibited areas are simply asked to stop.