Over 100 people packed the Topley Community Hall for an informative meeting March 17. The meeting was requested by residents who are seeking more information about the proposed medical marijuana facility.

Over 100 people packed the Topley Community Hall for an informative meeting March 17. The meeting was requested by residents who are seeking more information about the proposed medical marijuana facility.

Regional District zoning determines progress of Topley medical marijuana facility

Topley residents will have a say about the proposed marijuana facility through a public hearing, part of the RDBN rezoning process.

The Regional District zoning controls the progress of the proposed medical marijuana facility for Topley.

Alexander Mark Roberts, chief operating officer of KTown Medical Growers (KTMG), made a proposal to the Regional District Feb. 17.

Roberts plans to put a medical marijuana facility in the old Topley School, he said.

Over 100 people packed the Topley Community Hall for an informative meeting March 17, which was organized by Wendy Townsend.

A panel of representatives from the Regional District, School District 91, KTown Medical Growers and the RCMP was available to answer questions.

Roberts needs licence from Health Canada to grow medical marijuana, said RCMP Sgt. Stephen Rose.

He also needs the property rezoned, said Jason Llewellyn, Director of Planning with Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN).

Currently zoned for schools and parks, the building needs to be zoned agricultural for the plant to proceed, Llewellyn said.

Roberts says he will apply to get the property rezoned as soon as he has possession of the building April 1.

The rezoning process was explained to Topley residents by Jason Llewellyn, Director of Planning with Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN).

When staff receives an application, they collect relevant information and evaluate the application, looking at potential impacts around things like traffic, noise and odours.

Then, they refer the application to the Ministry of Transportation, RCMP, Northern Health, Health Canada and Ministry of Environment.

They also refer to a small group of residents in the area who are appointed by the RDBN director of the electoral area, in this case Rob Newell.

Staff then write a summery report and recommendation to the RDBN board, who consider the application.

At that point, the public is consulted through a public hearing, which would be advertised and held in Topley.

“The intent of the public hearing is to give the public opportunity to comment on what’s being proposed,” Llewellyn said.

After the hearing, staff report to the board about the results of the public hearing and the RDBN board would consider the application again.

Finally, the Ministry of Transportation must approve the rezoning bylaw, and any conditions given by the board must be met. Then there is a final consideration and adoption of the rezoning bylaw.

Without the rezoning and the Topley public hearing, the proposed medical marijuana plant cannot proceed, Llewellyn said.

Roberts will apply for rezoning April 1, when he takes possession of the school building, he said.

Asked if he will sell the building if he does not get a licence to grow or cannot overcome the hurdles, Roberts said no.

“No, not at that point. We’ll work to overcome the obstacles,” he said.