District of Sicamous to seek public input on cannabis policy

Public hearing scheduled for June 13

With cannabis legalization coming, Sicamous council were advised by higher levels of government it is their responsibility to create policy or regulations addressing the sales of recreational cannabis in the district. At their May 9 meeting, council gave first and second reading to a bylaw which would effectively restrict sales of cannabis within the district’s commercial zones before public input is gathered.

The restrictive measures are an interim solution until public consultation can guide the writing of policies and bylaws. A public hearing on cannabis sales regulation has been scheduled for June 13.

If council had chosen not to act, cannabis sales would have been permitted in the C1 Town Centre Commercial, C1A Town Centre Commercial Residential and C2 Tourist Highway Commercial zones regardless of whether the public wanted restrictions placed on the number of locations or proximity to community amenities such as schools or parks.

Development fees

Sicamous council took steps towards reducing the district’s development cost charges (DCCs) at their May 9 meeting.

DCCs are fees charged to the developer when a property is subdivided or at the building permit stage and allocated to reserves funds that help pay for upgrades to community amenities such as water and sewer systems, parks and roads.

DCC bylaws are governed by provincial legislation and must be submitted to the province for approval. The new DCC bylaw which council gave first reading to at the May 9 meeting significantly reduces the DCC rates. DCCs for single-family residential lots will be reduced from $9,152 to $6,577 if the bylaw is approved by the province. Funds from the DCCs will go towards transportation, water and sewer projects as well as upgrades to the district’s parks including upgrades to the pathways, landscaping and playground at the beach park.

“Because of the DCC bylaw review Sicamous is probably going to have the most competitive development cost charges in not only the Okanagan but probably British Columbia,” said Mayor Terry Rysz.

Rysz said the reduced DCCs will encourage growth and all types of development.

Noise control

Sicamous council approved amendments to the district’s noise control bylaw which would give town manager Evan Parliament the power to authorize extensions to the noise bylaw for special circumstances. The new approach to noise bylaw exemptions came up through the drafting of a film policy bylaw. It would allow the town manager to make minor amendments allowing for special events such as film shoots. Parliament said any exemption from the bylaw that might be a cause for concern will come before council.

Centoaph funding

Sicamous will be receiving a $25,000 grant for improvements to the cenotaph and memorial plaza. The grant came through Veterans Affairs Canada’s commemorative partnership program.

“I’d just like to thank staff for putting the application for a grant in and putting forth the extra effort, now our community has a $25,000 grant for improving the cenotaph, so that’s a pretty good deal,” said Coun. Malcolm Makayev

Painted rocks

Council received a letter from the Eagle Valley Arts Council requesting permission to place painted rocks in the nature park. The rocks will be painted by a class of Eagle River Secondary Students and by Sicamous citizens at a community session at the Red Barn.

“This has been done with many other communities as a visitor and resident attraction,” the letter read.

In council’s discussion of the letter concerns were raised about their durability, and that they would compromise the character of the nature trail. Suggestions raised for an alternate location for the rocks included the dog park and the new trail along Highway 97A.

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