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Mayor excited about North Battleford medical marijuana proposal

North Battleford’s mayor is excited to see a potential new development in his city.

Ryan Bater, who was elected as mayor in 2016, spoke with 106.1 The Goat about the possibility of a medical marijuana facility being constructed in North Battleford in the future.

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 Bater, the city had been approached by a developer looking to purchase the building and put it to the proposed use, not by the current owners of the property. If the discretionary use is granted, it would mean the developer would be able to apply to council for that specific use, as would any other future developers in the same park.

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Bater indicated the city council were viewing the business as an economic opportunity, and leaving the question of marijuana regulation to the federal government.

“There is obviously a national conversation about this,” said Bater.

“That is not within the purview of a municipality. A municipality has to work within the laws of the land, so we’re looking at it as a municipal zoning issue and an economic development issue.”

Bater wants the federal government to consult with municipalities about marijuana legalization, as he sees major implications for zoning of both production and retail of the product. He also expressed excitement about the Maple Leaf building being put back into use, if the proposal moves forward.

“This community was really surprised and saddened when the bacon plant closed in 2011, it’s been vacant ever since,” said Bater.

“It’s a very specialized facility. The idea of that facility being active again, of attracting jobs and contributing to the economy again, is very exciting.”

According to the council agenda from February 13, the municipal administration of North Battleford does not see any conflicts in locating the business in that building. The property is isolated, sitting within the park. The only concern expressed by administration was for council to control the amount and locations of any other medical marijuana facilities in the future.

The bylaw amendment will be discussed on February 27 by North Battleford city council.

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