Article by Jenni Dunning, Bradford Today
Any cannabis growers in Bradford West Gwillimbury who want to start a federally-regulated micro-cultivation operation could wait a year or more while the town establishes more rules about them, council voted Tuesday night.
Councillors Gary Lamb and Peter Ferragine were the only ones who voted against an interim control bylaw, which would ban any new cannabis micro-cultivation operations on agricultural, rural, marsh agricultural, and natural heritage system properties for one year, with a chance of extension.
Coun. Peter Dykie Jr. did not attend the meeting due to an illness in the family.
“We’re just delaying the inevitable. Farmers’ markets are more than just apples and apple pie,” said Lamb, noting cannabis should be treated like any other crop.
“What happens if someone says, ‘I don’t like cucumbers, I don’t like carrots, I don’t like the way onions smell?’ Why do we have to reinvent everything?”
Deputy Mayor James Leduc explained voting for an interim bylaw does not mean the town is opposed to micro cultivation, rather it gives town staff time to look into all federal regulations for the operations and come up with additional ones about land-use planning, such as how close they can be to residential areas.
“This is good leadership. We want to make sure we do it right,” Leduc said. “We’re not opposed to anything. Taking a good look at things is not a bad thing to do.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, council also heard a delegation from cannabis lawyer Russell Bennett to ask for an exemption from an interim bylaw, on behalf of micro-cultivation applicant Darren Gregory, whose family owns several McDonald’s restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area.
Gregory is hoping to build a cannabis micro-cultivation operation at 55 Grencer Rd., off Canal Road.
“My No. 1 initiative … is to be a great community partner,” Gregory told council. “We’d be hiring locally. We want to be respected members (of the community).”
Bennett presented council with several details about how Gregory planned to deal with odour (special carbon filters), exterior aesthetics and fencing (several architectural illustrations were shown), and distance from residential areas (proposed facility would be 140 metres away from the nearest home and one kilometre away from the nearest school).
“Looks like the first one was (U.S. President Donald) Trump’s wall,” laughed Coun. Ron Orr, referring to one of the design illustrations.
Local resident Jackie Lunn, just one of a handful of people who have approached the town about allowing cannabis micro cultivation, urged council at a previous meeting not to approve an interim bylaw.