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County of Forty Mile cannabis bylaw is close to being passed

Posted on February 6, 2019 by 40 Mile Commentator
County of Forty Mile Reeve Steve Wikkerink

Scott Schmidt
Alberta Newspaper Group
Forty Mile County is getting closer to passing local cannabis legislation to regulate use of the newly legalized substance, while at the same time seeing no reason to rush.
Both the local RCMP and county council have had minimal — at best — issues to report since marijuana was legalized last October, so while the plan is to see a full public ban on the substance within county lines, the most important task at hand is getting the bylaw right.
“We could’ve just done all three readings at our council meeting at once and been done,” Reeve Steve Wikkerink said. “But we chose not to. So we only did the first reading, and then … we’ll have a chance … to have an open house on that bylaw and see if there’s any input at that time.
“Depending on that, if all is good, then we’ll give that bylaw the next two readings.”

Whitla Wind Farm

Representatives from Capital Power made the rounds this week, providing updates on its $325-million, 58-turbine field planned for south of Bow Island.
After a dinner with landowners and a stop at town council last Monday , Capital Power paid a visit Wednesday to Forty Mile council to give an idea of what the public should expect when construction ramps up in the spring.
“(From what I could see), not a lot of questions came up,” Wikkerink said. “It’s all looking real positive.”
A shell for a building is already up where the operations centre will be and the company has been working steadily on access roads, more to finish after winter. Wikkerink says their plan is to have several aspects of the project ongoing once spring rolls around — some on roads, some working on footings, some trenching wire and others building towers.
“That will pretty well carry on through the summer,” he said. “Four or five job sites will all be going at once.”
The spring free-for-all is necessary not just for best-scenario business purposes, but also because of criteria stemming from Alberta’s renewable energy grant program.
“I believe they have to have everything turning by Dec. 1,” Wikkerink said. Capital Power was a recipient of grant funding through the province contingent on the facility operating by a specific date. “They figure they might stagger bringing the windmills online, so we were told some might be ready to fire by early September.”

Seeking new position

The county is in the process of hiring a new position, which it decided to create near the end of 2018. Wikkerink says government regulations are forcing municipalities to take on a more staunch position regarding occupational safety, so, as has a few other jurisdictions in the region, the county has formed a new safety role within its administration.
“So far that has been a split position between our fire chief and bylaw officer, but we’ve created a new position,” Wikkerink says. “We’ve had about 15 applications already for it — some really qualified individuals — so I think you’ll see that position filled here within a month.”

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