The possibility of a medical marijuana facility coming to North Battleford has moved one step closer to becoming reality.

The city council of North Battleford has been considering an amendment to the zoning bylaws governing the Parsons Industrial Park in the community, which would add the definition of a medical marijuana facility into the discretionary uses of the park.

Council first discussed the matter during their meeting on February 13, when they directed administration to prepare a bylaw allowing for the discretionary use of the Parsons Industrial Park for such a facility. If the proposal went ahead, the business would be located in the old Maple Leaf Foods building along 99 Canola Ave, which has been vacant since 2011.

According to North Battleford mayor Ryan Bator, the city had been approached by a developer looking to purchase the building and put it to the proposed use.

The zoning amendment process has since progressed past first reading on Feb. 27, and onto a public hearing, which was held on Monday. During the hearing, no written correspondence or verbal presentations were made either for or against the project, which means the amendment will move to second reading.

Speaking with 106.1 The Goat on Thursday, Bater said he was “somewhat surprised” with the lack of feedback.

“You’ve got to remember, this is an amendment to allow such a facility of a discretionary use,” said Bater.

“It’s not actually about a facility, there’s no development permit, no property owners indicating a desire to do this. This is really just preparing for the future in case somebody ever did want to.”

Bater indicated the city had not heard anything from the developer who first approached the city on the matter. Despite the lack of communication, he said it was clear there was interest to have the discretionary use in place.

As for whether or not the city council would approve a facility under the discretionary use, Bater said it depended on the project.

“There is a lot to consider, just like any other economic development project, and that’s how I view this, an economic development project,” said Bater.

“The idea of medicinal marijuana conjures up for some people a lot of emotions, and I’ve received calls about that, but I remind people that is a federal government jurisdiction, it’s a federal government decision. It’s also regulated by the federal government, so from a municipal point of view, this is a legally produced substance. If a development was ever to happen in our city, we’d want to make sure it happened in the right part of our city, which is why we’re considering this amendment.”