Esquimalt Township municipal hall. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Esquimalt assesses cannabis retail, wastewater amenity funds

Sitting as committee of the whole, council will hear feedback on community engagement

Esquimalt council will sit as committee of the whole this week to discuss how the Township will approach cannabis retail, and to assess phase one of the consultation on the wastewater treatment plant amenity funds.

Township staff are recommending that council begin a process to amend zoning bylaws that would prohibit cannabis retail as a land use, but that could permit it to be considered through site specific rezoning.

This would provide options for controlling the size and the location of cannabis retail outlets as they move into Esquimalt.

Municipalities across the province are looking at implementing similar guidelines as the country readies for the legalization of marijuana this summer.

Esquimalt is poised to start round two of the community engagement process, asking residents how the $17 million in wastewater treatment plant amenity funds should be spent.

During phase one, an Ideas Wall, Ideas Fair, online survey and social media gathered roughly 5,000 pieces of input from approximately 700 people.

The $17 million is to be broken down into three categories; waterfront park improvements, downtown recreation facility improvements, and facilities for emergency services and public safety.

Improved public washrooms, lighting, playground equipment, better trail connections, and more food and beverage services at places like Saxe Point and Esquimalt Gorge parks were some of the suggestions.

Ideas to improve recreation facilities included energy retrofits, an outdoor pool, and squash/pickle ball/tennis/basketball courts, among others.

Residents also expressed interest in creating more electric vehicle charging stations, better parking, bike lanes, an emergency co-ordination centre and a safe injection site.

Round two kicks off next month, and will last until September. A mobile Ideas Gallery will be on display in booths at community events throughout the summer to gather more feedback and a second online survey will focus on the emerging themes from round one.

Council will determine which projects will receive funding after the information compiled is presented in early 2019.

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