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Cannabis Discussed in Trent Lakes

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Oct 102018
 

Reprinted from the Lakefield Herald (Oct 5, 2018)

Cannabis Discussed in Trent Lakes

BY TERRY GILLIS

During the September 18 Trent Lakes council meeting, under New Business on the agenda, Councillor Raymond advised that at the October 2, 2018 Council meeting he will be placing a motion that Council directs staff to collect and review information pertaining to new legislation, regulations and implementation regarding cannabis and provide the 2018-2022 Council with a detailed report which will also include comments from the County, neighbouring municipalities, OPP, emergency services and the building and planning department.

With the legalization of cannabis only two weeks away, provinces, and inadvertently, municipalities are scrambling to get their legislation and sales venues in order.

The Ontario government has confirmed it will introduce legislation to allow private sector retail sale of recreational cannabis by April 1, 2019.

According to The Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) the province will operate a licensing system for private cannabis retailers centrally to standardize rules for applications and administration.

Municipalities are raising concerns over how cannabis sales will be regulated and who will be responsible for the added policing and other costs. Trent Lakes already has concerns about their OPP expenses.

The provincial government announced last week that municipalities that opt-out of cannabis retail stores could allow them in the future, but municipalities that do not opt-out of stores by January 22nd, cannot opt-out of them at a later date.

Following the reading of his motion on October 2, Councillor Raymond said that the reason he is suggesting a report be put together is because “the new council, whoever forms the new council, is going to have to make a decision pretty quick.” He commented that the decision will have to be for opting in or out by January 22.  Raymond continued by saying that the new council “will likely not have much time to solicit input from the public.”

The government is introducing legislation which, if enacted, would create a tightly regulated licensing model and regulatory framework for private retail of cannabis in Ontario.

In this new model:

• Private retailers would be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)

• The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) would be the exclusive wholesaler and online retailer of cannabis in the province

• Municipalities would be able to pass a council resolution by January 22, 2019 to opt-out of retail stores

• First Nation communities would be able to opt-out of cannabis deliveries and retail stores

Proposed legislation, if enacted, would support this direction with the intent of enabling the AGCO to begin to accept applications in December 2018.

So far, two major Ontario cities, Markham and Richmond Hill, aren’t waiting until the deadline and have already rejected hosting retail cannabis stores.

AMO also confirmed that Ontario (one of only two provinces so far) has committed to sharing the federal cannabis excise tax with municipalities to make sure local governments across the province can manage the transition to legal recreational cannabis. This is critical in both the transition period and longer-term, to protect and support youth, residents and communities. What was not made clear was whether all municipalities will receive a share of the excise tax, or only those who opt-in.

While the province promised to provide $40 million over two years to help municipalities with the costs of recreational cannabis legalization, there are other issues that may not be factored into the costs. Some municipalities have expressed concerns surrounding homegrown cannabis and the affect it may have on local water treatment systems or waste disposal.

For local government, when it comes to recreational pot, there are still a number of uncertainties and questions that haven’t even been thought of yet.

As for Councillor Raymond’s motion, it was unanimously approved.

 

 

 

Council makes decision on Short Term Rentals in City of Kawartha Lakes

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Aug 232018
 

Council makes a decision on Short Term Residential Rentals in the City of Kawartha Lakes

Kawartha Lakes – Council made a decision on short term residential rentals in the City of Kawartha Lakes at the August 14 Council Meeting. Council adopted the first option of the Short Term Rentals Follow Up Report to continue to monitor short term residential rentals and implement several amendments to City by-laws to enable Municipal Law Enforcement to better respond and track issues arising at these properties.

In addition, Council passed a motion that City staff continue to dialogue with residents and tax payers who experience ongoing issues with short term rentals and to monitor the effectiveness of implementing these changes with a report back to Council in the second quarter of 2019.

The changes as outlined in option one of the report include:

  • Continue to respond to by-law violation complaints as per current practices and by-laws;
  • Implement new processes to fully use existing legislation to address complaints;
  • That the Clean and Clear By-law 2014-026, Animals By-law 2017-039, Open Air Burning By-law 2016-110, Fireworks By-Law 2007-236 and the Noise By-law 2005-25 were amended to reflect that the onus is additionally placed onto the property owner to ensure that they are taking responsibility for the activities that are occurring on the properties that they own;
  • Conduct an education campaign and information sharing process to inform property owners, cottage/road associations and visitors of their responsibilities, by-laws and regulations as well as fees for repeat violations of the by-laws;
  • Increase proactive enforcement of by-law violations and conduct random and focused enforcement in partnership with Police Services; and
  • Municipal Law Enforcement staff continue to be available to the public, Council and other city staff as a general information resource.

Residents are encouraged to report issues at rental properties relating to by-law infractions to the City’s Municipal Law Enforcement Division. Municipal By-law officers are available Monday to Friday from 8am to 9pm and on weekends from 8am to 6:30pm. Residents can contact the City’s Municipal Law Enforcement Division at 705-324-9411 extension 1212 and leave a message to report their concerns. All calls will be answered within two business days. Residents should call emergency services to report life threatening situations such as large bonfires, people swimming or operating a motor craft while intoxicated or illegal activity taking place at the rental property.

Numerous pieces of legislation already exist to deal with many of the reported impacts resulting from short term residential rentals. The City’s enacted by-laws address matters pertaining to parking, noise, property standards, burning, animals and domestic waste disposal. Provincial law and statues exist to address alcohol/controlled substance consumption, unsafe operation of motor vehicles or watercrafts and septic issues.

Staff have also developed a tracking tool within the City’s complaint management database to track calls that are coming in specifically for rental properties.

The City’s Fee’s By-law outlines the fees that can be charged to the owner of a property for inspections by Municipal Law Enforcement staff that result in a by-law violation being found. Council approved wording changes and removed free additional inspections to the make the schedule clear that fees are only charged when a violation is found. The changes also protect owners of short term residential rental properties from vexatious complaints by including provisions that fees for service are only levied if by-law violations are found. The inspection fees schedule will allow the cost recovery of the associated inspection and fees will increase for repeat issues.

For more information, read the Short Term Residential Rentals Follow-up Report and the Short Term Residential Rentals Informational Report on the City’s website.

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City of Kawartha Lakes celebrates 1st year as a “Bee City”.

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Aug 022018
 

City of Kawartha Lakes celebrates its first year as an official “Bee City”.

Kawartha Lakes – The City of Kawartha Lakes is celebrating the one year anniversary this July of its designation as a Bee City. The City would like to recognize the hard work and effort that has been made by City residents, communities and organizations towards raising awareness about the importance of pollination. The Kawartha Lakes Environmental Advisory Committee’s Pollinator Action Committee has been providing education and bringing attention to our native pollinators and what we can do to support them.

The Committee continues to participate in community events such as Settlers’ Day in Bobcaygeon, Omemee Days, Frost Campus’ 10th Eco Health Conference and the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority 150. “It was a wonderful and encouraging thing to see so many people visiting our display tables and expressing so much interest and concern for pollinators,” said Susan Blayney, Chair of the City of Kawartha Lakes Pollinator Action Committee.

One of the most important things that can be done for pollinators is to create habitats for them, which is the main goal of the Kawartha Lakes Pollinator Pathway mapping project. Residents can get involved by using the resources outlined on the dedicated website provided by the City and the Committee to build pollinator-friendly environments. Any resident who registers will also receive a free “Pollinator Pathway” garden sign to proudly display on their property.

The Committee also has several large projects underway, including working with Kawartha Regional Conservation Authority to plant pollinator patches at Windy Ridge, assisting the Frost Campus to enhance their butterfly garden as well as maintaining the newly established 1.5 acres of habitat created for the Fenelon Landfill Pollinator project.

“The Pollinator Action Committee, with the support from the City of Kawartha Lakes, is very pleased with what has been accomplished during the first year of being a Bee City,” said Blayney. The plight of the bees cannot be fixed over the course of one year, but the City of Kawartha Lakes community is off to a strong start. The City and Pollinator Action Committee are dedicated to providing the community with resources and information to raising pollinator awareness, education and working on creating habitats for years to come.

To learn more, please visit the City’s Bee City webpage.

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