The City of White Rock is looking for public input on zoning issues with surveys scheduled for early May – including whether cannabis retailing should be allowed, and, if so, where. File photo

White Rock calls for cannabis, zoning opinions

City surveys circulated online, in hard copy and at open houses

City of White Rock is looking for input on zoning bylaw updates – including public opinion on the retail sale and personal cultivation of cannabis in the city, following impending nationwide legalization.

A report presented to council Monday by city staff outlined ways in which public opinion will be sought May 7-21.

An amendment to the city’s zoning bylaw that effectively bans cannabis retail and dispensing in the city – described by the city as an interim measure until all federal and provincial regulations on cannabis distribution become clear – met with an outcry of criticism from medical-marijuana advocates before it was adopted in February.

Planning and development services director Carl Johannsen told council that feedback from residents and businesses on this and other zoning issues is needed “to improve the ability of the zoning bylaw to implement the OCP (official community plan).”

Staff are looking for views and reactions on a total of 10 land-use topics relating to the first phase of the update – child-care centres, community gardens and urban agriculture, vehicle parking (including supply, and parking for rental housing and electric vehicles), craft breweries and distilleries, rental housing on church properties, coach houses and suites, short-term rentals, cannabis-legalization items, waterfront retail and food and farmers markets.

To gather opinion, staff have prepared short surveys on each topic that will be available online at the TalkWhiteRock.ca consultation platform, in hard-copy form at city hall and other city facilities, and also at three open houses at White Rock Community Centre at Miramar Village.

Open houses are scheduled for May 7 and 8 (both 4:30-7:30 p.m.) and on May 12 (1-4 p.m.). May 7 and 12 will be for all issues, but the May 8 open house will be specifically focused on cannabis.

According to the report, the survey on cannabis will consider if retail shops should be allowed, where they should be located, and how they should be regulated, in accordance with provincial guidelines. The survey will also look at whether any regulations should be provided for personal cultivation of non-medicinal cannabis.

Planning manager Carl Isaak said the survey process is only one step in the consultation process.

“This isn’t the final opportunity for people to give input to council,” he said.

In response to a question from Coun. Helen Fathers on whether youth input would be sought, Johannsen said the survey will be discussed with school district staff, who would then determine how the surveys could be circulated to students.

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