Cannabis bylaw draws public comments

MORRISBURG – At the February 16th public meeting regarding the implementation of a new cannabis regulation bylaw the feedback regarding the planned implementation of the new bylaw was largely positive.

Most of those who chose to participate live in the vicinity of the industrial building located at the corner of Flagg Road and County Road 2 which quietly became a cannabis growing site some time ago. Since that time, the odour from it is what alerted area residents of the building’s use and that odour is now a nuisance to area residents.

Speaking about the odour nearby resident Johanna Kronstal said: “It’s affecting a large neighbourhood and infringing on the rights of a local community.” She asked what recourse they have, and South Dundas chief building official Nicole Lowey said that all odour complaints need to be reported to the Ministry of the Environment, which has jurisdiction over those matters.

While the new cannabis bylaw covers the entire municipality, most of those participating in the meeting are hoping that it gives the municipality the power to improve the situation in that specific location, but also avoid the problem cropping up in other areas.

When the federal government legalized cannabis it meant that the growing of cannabis is now considered a legal agricultural crop with all licencing and enforcement controlled by Health Canada.

While the municipality has zero power to stop this type of land use, they can implement some regulations to help mitigate the nuisance on neighbouring residential properties, hence the new bylaw.

South Dundas’ bylaw includes a 300 meter setback from sensitive land use areas, which includes residential dwellings, and the requirement for adequate odour and noise mitigation measures.

Because the Flagg Road building was in use for this purpose before this bylaw, it would not be subject to it due to grandfathering rules, however, South Dundas’ chief building official Nicole Lowey said that 20 HVAC units were installed without a permit, so once they apply for that permit the provisions of the bylaw have to be met.

With that information, council decided that they will plan to get the new bylaw in place at Monday’s council meeting.

The Rowena Road greenhouse growing operation that caused so much local stir over the summer would not require odour mitigation measures, however the 300 meter setback would have moved them farther away from neighbouring residential properties.

South Dundas resident Douglas Culver, who is retired RCMP drug enforcement with experience regarding the cannabis industry commented during the meeting. “This is a terrific first step in trying to control this. I don’t see much more you can do as a municipality.”

He added, “I think the municipality is doing pretty well with the tools they have.” He suggested that all suspected rule violations be reported to Health Canada.

“I’m pretty impressed with what you are putting in place,” he concluded.

“We’re doing what we can to deal with it,” commented Byvelds.

He said that since the council is planning to move up the passing of this bylaw to February 22, anyone planning to submit comments needs to do so this week.

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