Welcome back to our bi-weekly Rideau-Goulbourn column following the 60-day election blackout period. Over the coming weeks and months, we will want to connect with residents across the ward. As we did in January 2015, we will organize a series of town hall meetings in various communities to discuss priorities for the upcoming term of Council. We are also going to look at ways of expanding our communication efforts. In eight years, we have always strived to improve and keep finding ways to serve you better. That will not change.
And now for something completely different….
The Future of Retail Cannabis in Ottawa
During the blackout period, City Council directed the Emergency and Protective Services Department in providing an opportunity for public input on potential cannabis retail stores in Ottawa. From October 25th to November 7th, residents will be able to provide input on this issue in two ways:
By online survey on Ottawa.ca or by filling out paper copies of the survey available at the City’s client service centres, and
Through a randomized telephone survey being conducted by Ekos Research Associates on behalf of the City.
As you may know, currently Ontarians aged 19 years or older may purchase cannabis for recreational use online only via the Ontario Cannabis Store. However, the Province of Ontario has passed the Cannabis Licensing Act, 2018 (not yet in force) that establishes a Provincial licensing regime for private cannabis retail stores beginning on April 1, 2019, in municipalities that will allow them. These cannabis stores will be licensed and administered by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in accordance with rules and regulations set out by the Province.
The Province is allowing municipal councils to decide, by January 22, 2019, whether to allow private cannabis retail stores within their borders. In accordance with the Province’s new cannabis legislation, municipal councils will have a one-time opportunity to “opt-out” of private cannabis retail stores, and will be unable to opt-out at a later date. However, municipalities that have opted-out by January 22nd will be able to reverse their decision and allow cannabis retail stores in their municipalities at a later date.
It is expected that the newly elected City Council in Ottawa will consider the issue of cannabis retail stores later this year, at a date to be determined. City staff will present public input collected through these surveys to City Council to assist Council in its consideration of this issue.
For now, Ontarians aged 19 or older can purchase cannabis for recreational purposes at the Ontario Cannabis Store only. Before April 1, 2019, cannabis store fronts/dispensaries remain illegal.
The Province of Ontario will allow private cannabis retail stores will begin selling recreational cannabis on April 1, 2019 in municipalities that will allow the stores within their borders. In municipalities that allow them, private cannabis stores will be licensed and managed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
Ash Tree Replacement Pilot Program
The City of Ottawa has lost thousands of ash trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). This invasive beetle, native to Asia was first detected in North America in 2002. Since its arrival, it has killed tens of millions of ash trees and continues to spread, causing considerable economic and ecological damage.
As a result, many private property owners are left with dead or dying ash trees. To help address this, South Nation Conservation (SNC) has partnered with the City of Ottawa, to pilot a cost-sharing ‘Ash Tree Replacement Program’.
The program is available to property owners with affected ash tree(s) located in the City. Eligible applicants agree to use a forestry professional to confirm and remove EAB infected ash trees and to replace all removed trees with suitable native trees.
Managed similar to the Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program with the partner Conservation Authorities, the Ash Tree Replacement Program will also be managed and administered by SNC. Funding support has been provided by the City of Ottawa. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit our program website at nation.on.ca/eab or to contact SNC for eligibility details.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. For information on Rideau-Goulbourn issues, please visit RideauGoulbourn.ca.