Richardson pushes for city bylaws on grow-ops

By Kirk Winter

Ward Eight councillor Tracy Richardson took centre stage this week pushing aggressively for city bylaws to be created as soon as possible to manage the burgeoning marijuana grow-op business in Kawartha Lakes.

Richardson said one of these operations is currently under construction with others being contemplated.  She shares that the city receives 2-3 calls a day from individuals looking to cultivate within city limits.

The Ward 8 councillor is very concerned “the city does not have a comprehensive plan in place about these grow-ops. There is nothing on the books to control waste management, chemical run-offs or the odour involved in the processing of the plant.”

Richardson reminded councillors that Kawartha Lakes is now the gateway community off the 407, and with land prices considerably cheaper here than in the GTA or Durham, the growers are coming.

She says she is uncomfortable with the way the federal government has been granting licenses and permitting them to be combined with other licenses to allow some of these potential operations to contain thousands of plants.

Richardson says, for the “sake of public safety,” wants new bylaws to be in place before the “explosion” of legal grow-ops begins.

Councillor Andrew Veale vigorously supported new grow-op bylaws.

“These operations are cropping up all over the city,” Veale said. “Let’s not wait for anyone else to determine what our rules will be.”

Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan lent her voice to the call for more bylaws sharing, “The OPP is supportive of more regulation. They want the teeth to deal with these operations now.”

Council will revisit this issue at their June 23 meeting.

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