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At Morinville Council: cannabis laws and LAV III monument

Town council hazy on cannabis controls. Also, hey, look, a LAV III.

Cannabis control considered

Morinville will draw up rules for public cannabis use later this fall, but the actual contents of those rules are still pretty hazy.

Town council voted 4-3 on Sept. 11 in favour of creating a cannabis control bylaw. Councillors Rebecca Balanko, Stephen Dafoe and Scott Richardson were opposed.

Recreational cannabis use will be legal in Canada as of Oct. 17. While the province has already set out six basic rules for public cannabis use, it is also allowing municipalities to create additional regulations.

Some communities are sticking with the rules set by the province, while others are considering partial (Edmonton) or complete (St. Albert) bans on public consumption, said town chief administrative officer Stephane Labonne.

“The clock is ticking,” he said, and he recommended that the town have some sort of rules in place before Oct. 17.

Town enforcement services manager William Norton said it’s unclear what such a bylaw should cover or if it would even be enforceable by bylaw officers.

Councillors showed a broad range of views on how the town should regulate cannabis use.

Coun. Lawrence Giffin suggested following St. Albert’s lead with a total public ban, saying that most residents would be “dismayed” to see people walking down Main Street smoking cannabis.

Dafoe suggested that the town’s smoking bylaw would prevent that scenario, as it banned smoking within a set distance of doorways, and joked that cannabis users probably wouldn’t be up for a downtown stroll after smoking a few joints.

“This is not going to turn into, in my opinion, reefer madness.”

Dafoe suggested building on the province’s rules by banning consumption within set distances from playgrounds and other specified areas, and opposed restricting use to private property, as doing so would discriminate against renters for using a legal product.

While Richardson questioned the need for a cannabis consumption bylaw, as the town does not have one for liquor consumption, Coun. Nicole Boutestein and Mayor Barry Turner said it was better to be proactive and have a law in place.

A draft bylaw is set to come before council sometime this fall.

LAV III design revealed

Council got its first look at the design for the proposed LAV III monument last week.

Rotary Club of Morinville member Gordon Putnam gave council an update on the LAV III monument project on Sept. 11.

The roughly $450,000 project aims to place a decommissioned LAV III vehicle on the town’s rec centre grounds early next year as a monument to Canada’s military efforts in Afghanistan.

The plan is to place the monument somewhere on the south side of the grounds near Hwy. 642, Putnam said in an interview. While a conceptual drawing presented to council suggests it would go next to a proposed baseball field, council has yet to pick a specific site.

The monument will position the LAV so that it appears to be climbing over large boulders, and will surround it with a circular walkway and flowerbeds that will likely contain red and white plants, Putnam said. A memorial plaque will recognize Canadian soldiers and civilians killed in the Afghan conflict, while information displays will explain the war to visiting student groups.

Putnam said Rotary hoped to have the monument in place next spring, and planned to raise about $100,000 of the project’s cost over the coming months. The rest would come through in-kind support. Once built, it would be one of four similar monuments in Alberta.

“We’re going to be the only ones in this area that get a LAV,” Putnam said, so it should draw more people to both Morinville and the rec centre.

Plans for the LAV III site can be found in the agenda package for the Sept. 11 town council meeting.


Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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