At a committee meeting late this afternoon Mayor Ron Hovanes attempted to set the direction of both staff and council by stating some facts –
Neither the federal or provincial governments have enacted law on the recreational sale of marijuana and therefore it is illegal and the policy of the town is that nothing illegal is authorized by municipal government.
Staff wants to hire a consultant to lead a programme of public consultation into the subject at a cost up to $15 thousand dollars but council said no.
Council also said no to enacting a restrictive bylaw prior to receiving direction on the new law and what is allowed and legal by senior levels of government.
Council generally believes that the market place will control how many retail outlets can be sustained in such a small area – with competition in the rural area, the OIB land, Penticton and Osoyoos.
Zoning laws could be used to ensure that retail outlets are not allowed near schools or public parks. Council’s hammer at the moment is a business license bylaw.
Senior staff indicated that their proposal for a consultant was to reduce the workload impact on staff during an election year. Council was more interested in an extended discussion period – possibly a working group to discuss the issues but not to go to the public until Oliver has a plan with this time “deemed” to be a bit early.
Council directed staff to post backgrounders from the federal and provincial governments on the Town’s website and FaceBook page and plan an extended time meeting in the near future.