Special Council

Kitchener Council convened for a Special Council meeting today to hear two significant matters of interest: Bill 66 and Retail Cannabis Stores.

Bill 66

Council heard from delegations and discussed the Ontario Government’s Bill 66 (Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018). The Bill is in its first reading, and is in the midst of public consultation on the draft Bill.

Council expressed concern about the impact that Bill 66 could have on our sensitive natural lands, rural areas and groundwater. Council unanimously passed the following motion:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT Kitchener City Council express concern to the provincial government with respect to planned changes in the proposed Bill 66, in its present form, that may allow for an “open for business” planning bylaws; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Government of Ontario be requested to reconsider the proposed changes to the Planning Act in Bill 66, in its present form, which speak to the creation of the open-for-business bylaw; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT as input into that re-consideration, the City of Kitchener reaffirms its support for the principles of the Countryside Line and the Protected Countryside designation to appropriately manage growth through comprehensive planning review, analysis and community consultation; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the City of Kitchener reaffirms its support for meaningful public consultation on all land use planning-decision making matters, and, the continuing support to appropriately manage growth that achieves the protection of source water, farmland, and sensitive natural areas; and,

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that a copy of this motion be sent to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Premier, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, and all MPP’s in Waterloo Region.

Retail Cannabis Stores

Council unanimously voted to opt-in to allow the operation of provincially licensed cannabis retail in the City of Kitchener.

City staff reported that permitting provincially licensed retail stores is a safer alternative to the illegal cannabis market. Allowing retail stores will help achieve the objectives of safeguarding our youth, protecting our health and safety and preventing illicit activity.

Staff reported the benefits of allowing stores include: product safety, economic and job opportunities, harm reduction and receiving substantial provincial funding.

Council also unanimously passed the ‘Municipal Retail Cannabis Store Policy.’ The policy recommends the Ontario Government situate any cannabis retail stores in Kitchener away 150m from:

  • Addiction service providers,
  • Shelters and supportive housing for youth and vulnerable,
  • Libraries,
  • Community centres,
  • Social service centres that service youth and vulnerable populations
  • Municipal rec facilities like arenas and pools.

Read the full text of the staff report and the ‘Municipal Retail Cannabis Store Policy’.

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