Castlegar marijuana growing facility one step closer

COUNCIL BRIEFS: Bylaws, report on financial reserves, grants and fentanyl talked about at meeting.

After only two people attended the City of Castlegar public meeting and no one spoke for or against changes to Bylaw 1257, council adopted it to allow plans for a marijuana growing facility to move forward.

The city has been approached by a developer interested in developing a Health Canada approved production facility at 195 Highway 3/3A and 169/179 Hughes Road near the airport.

According to Castlegar’s director of development services Phil Markin, the developer is negotiating with the owners of the Hughes Road property.

Council documents explain that: “All applications to become a licensed producer of cannabis for medical purposes undergo a strict and thorough review. The newly licensed facilities will have to undertake all production, storage, and distribution of medical marijuana indoors, with the facilities meeting stringent security measures specified by Health Canada relating to the control of access to the facilities, control of access to restricted areas of the facilities, visual monitoring of the facilities and the perimeter of their sites, intrusion detection systems for the facilities and the perimeter of their sites.”

Adult day sitting

The same thing happened regarding changes to a bylaw that will allow for adult day sitting services to operate in a similar manner to children’s daycare services.

No one present spoke to the matter and council unanimously voted in favour of the bylaw change.

Fentanyl forum

Council authorized the expenditure of up to $500 from the 2017 special events budget to help with the costs of organizing a community information session regarding fentanyl. The session will be hosted and presented by professional community health service providers. A date for the event has not yet been set.

Status of reserves

Council received a report on the status of the city’s financial reserves. The reserves remain the same as they were as of Dec. 31, 2016, as no reserves have been used so far this year.

The city has approximately $4.5 million in statutory reserves consisting of $693,498 in development reserves, $1,152,920 in equipment reserves, $1,112,198 in land sales, $1,183,687 in development cost reserves and $376,051 in other reserves.

As for operating reserves, the city has about $3 million, consisting of $709,430 in the general fund, $1,687,463 in the water fund, $444,4000 in the sewer fund and $138,335 in the airport fund.

According to council documents: “Statutory reserves are restricted by the Community Charter and by bylaw and can only be expended for purposes specified in the bylaw. Council can, however, borrow from statutory reserves and repay the reserve in future years.”

Operating reserves can generally be utilized at the discretion of Council.

Chief financial officer Andre Buss explained that designated reserves cannot be used to subsidize another city program. For example, taxpayers in the general fund do not subsidize airport expenses and sewer users do not subsidize the general fund.

The city has approximately $793,900 of development reserve and $1.845 million of operating reserve internal financing to repay itself. The city estimates these reserves will be repaid by 2021.

The council agenda package explained the policy on internal borrowing. “Council has, in the past, leveraged the resources of the municipality, through internal financing, for strategically important projects and when they think it is in the best interests of the community to do so. The policy … has been thoroughly debated by city council and is:

* Internally borrow from city reserves, when authorized by Council.

* Repay the internal borrowing from Host Financial Assistant Agreement (Gaming Centre) revenues or —

* Repay the internal borrowing by including a repayment amount in the budget, when appropriate.”

Christmas Grant

Council approved a $300 grant to the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre to help them host their annual Christmas feast for students and families. Students and staff do the shopping, preparation and cooking for the meal. The learning centre serves 35 students and provides alternate resource programs and additional supports for students.

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