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EXCHANGE EXCHANGE is is aa quarterly quarterly magazine magazine published published by by the the Local Local Government Government Management Management Association Association (LGMA) (LGMA) of of British British Columbia. Columbia. It’s It’s about about sharing sharing information, information, exchanging exchanging ideas ideas on on best best practices, practices, enhancing enhancing professional professional development development and and building building networks. networks. Reach Reach us us at at








The Cannabis Quandary


Sharing information and expertise helps build strong, sustainable communities. Young Anderson is proud to support professional development opportunities for municipalities and regional districts.



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Update In this Issue President’s Report Executive Director’s Report Case of Interest Members Page Our Town

Professional Development 2 3 4 5 22 24

Tips & Tactics: Planning for Legalized Recreational Cannabis


Membership Renewals


Programs & Events


5 Case of Interest: Enforcement of Dispensaries a Grey Area

Exchange is the magazine for members of the Local Government Management Association of British Columbia. Exchange is distributed quarterly to over 900 members of the LGMA, as well as Mayors and Regional District Chairs.

Local governments can expect to have more and more difficulty getting enforcement assistance from the courts in the months leading up to the legalization of recreational cannabis.

The Cannabis Quandary Get some solid advice from legal experts about the steps local governments can take now to start preparing for the impact that legalized cannabis will have on their communities.

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Hear from officials in Colorado and Oregon to learn about their experiences with legalized cannabis, and find out what advice they have for B.C. local governments.

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Cannabis Regulation Case Studies

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government

24 Our Town: Smithers Learn more about this northern community, with its mountain views, vibrant downtown, focus on health and wellness, and access to the outdoors.


There’s a lot that is still unknown about how legalized cannabis will play out, but there is some solid advice available around the steps local governments can take now to be as prepared as possible.

hen people talk about cannabis, they tend to focus on philosophical positions. Many people are very emotional about the topic. Some are so adamantly against legalized recreational cannabis they cannot have a rational discussion about it, while others are frustrated that it’s taking so long. But as I connected with the various people who are looking at the impacts on local government or who have experienced the introduction of legalized recreational cannabis in their community, it was clear that personal opinions are irrelevant when it comes down to meeting responsibilities. The other factor that jumped out early was that there is still an enormous amount of uncertainty around how this newly regulated industry will look when all the legislation is passed.


The plans for legalized cannabis seem to keep shifting along the way, so I will include a disclaimer for this edition: we have kept everything as current as possible when it comes to the latest news on this topic, but the situation may change dramatically between when this magazine goes to press and when it arrives in the mail. It’s going to be important for local governments to stay informed about what is happening federally as well as with the provincial government. There’s a lot that is still unknown about how this will play out, but in The Cannabis Quandary, there is some solid advice around the steps local governments can take now to be as prepared as possible for the new legislation – assuming it moves forward in July 2018 as planned. As I spoke with lawyers who focus on local government and interviewed people from Colorado and Oregon, I was struck with two key concerns: there’s really not enough time to make sure the regulations for this new industry are handled correctly, and there desperately needs to be a revenue-sharing model that includes local governments so they can recoup some of the significant costs they will incur as they manage the regulatory requirements at a local level.

The planning component is essential as every community likely has distinct priorities related to how they want retail cannabis sales managed, as well as where they want to restrict use. If it’s not handled well, there will be considerable pushback in the community and local governments will experience the brunt of it. The financial model is critical as it’s evident that the costs of managing this new industry far outpace the revenue being generated. Places like Denver and cities in Oregon have introduced a local sales tax to try to offset the cost impacts. It will be interesting to see how the funding model is managed in B.C. In the meantime, as everyone waits and watches to see how the new federal and provincial legislation shakes out, I hope it will help to hear about lessons learned in the Cannabis Regulation Case Studies as well as the advice on the steps local governments can take now to protect their communities. As we wrap up this year of Exchange, my thanks go to the many people who contribute through interviews and sharing their stories so that we can produce this magazine each quarter. I also thank the LGMA team for their work to support and promote this professional development resource for members. I’m looking forward to the upcoming year, and as usual, we are always interested in hearing from members about the topics they would like to see covered in future. Therese Mickelson, ABC Editor

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018



Cannabis, marijuana, weed, pot – education and awareness is needed. As local governments, we can help by encouraging our community members to be informed.

e are hearing a lot about the legalization of recreational As well, Public Safety Canada announced it is launching a campaign cannabis that is proposed to be in place across Canada on the dangers of drug-impaired driving. Funding will be provided by July 2018. The majority of the articles, editorials and in 2018 to support public education and awareness initiatives. The banter are about the challenges this legislation is going National Institute of Cannabis Health and Education supports this to cause and how local and provincial governments will control, initiative and is working toward strategic partnerships necessary restrict, license, zone and manage the effects of this new legislation. to provide for the safe transition to legalized use of recreational Discussions are focused on the impact to our organizations, cannabis. our employees and our capacity to support this new regulatory Provinces in Canada have been proactive around preparing and requirement. educating their residents. New Brunswick will be introducing legislation related to support for research, development and My focus is on education. What is the federal government doing? implementation of education and awareness campaigns in their What are provinces doing? What are local governments doing province. to inform the citizens in their communities about cannabis use through education and awareness campaigns? After all, to make I also commend the proactive initiatives being led by community informed decisions and deal effectively with the legalization groups, school districts and others who are focused on promoting coming into effect, we should all be knowledgeable on the health education and awareness programs to help reduce the risk of harm and safety aspects of this drug and its recreational use. and promote responsible use of cannabis. The federal government of Canada has announced it intends As local governments, we can help by encouraging our community to make a significant investment in public education related to members to be informed and to join the conversation to help cannabis use, focusing on youth, young adults, other priority understand the risks and be aware of responsible use of cannabis. I populations such as Indigenous people, and pregnant and encourage members to share the link to this “talking about drugs” breastfeeding women. They report that $36.4 million will be spent site hosted by Health Canada: Let’s start the conversation: over the next five years on these education programs ($22.5 million the first two years and $13.9 in the following three years). The drugs/talking-with-teenagers-about-drugs.html. federal government’s education plan will highlight information Patti Bridal about the health and safety risks of cannabis and will include President factual and evidence-based information on the risks of cannabis use and drug-impaired driving.


In March 2017, Health Canada began a program that encourages parents to talk with their children about cannabis. In partnership with Drug Free Kids Canada, the Cannabis Talk Kit was created as a tool for parents to assist with their discussion.


Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


It is often very hard to hear the truth about our Canadian history from the perspective of Indigenous people, and to understand the intergenerational impacts of that history.


s I headed home from the very successful Vancouver Island LGMA Chapter Conference, which was entirely focused on reconciliation with B.C. First Nations, I kept thinking about the difference in today’s conversations about the Indigenous people of Canada and the role of local governments in reconciliation compared to even a few years ago. It was a remarkable conference, with every session providing a different perspective and lens on the history of the Indigenous people of Canada, and how we can contribute to changing the perceptions and relationships with Indigenous communities. Those of us who participated were exceptionally privileged to continue both our collective and individual learning and to explore the path to reconciliation. I have had many opportunities over the past several years to experience similar training in Indigenous culture, traditional ways of governing both communities and the land, and the history of Canada’s Indigenous people. And yet, every opportunity yields new and more nuanced learning and understanding. I am grateful for each of these moments and the wisdom shared by the elders and Indigenous leaders who have been willing to guide these sessions. It is often very hard to hear the truth about our Canadian history from the perspective of Indigenous people, and to understand the intergenerational impacts of that history as well as the ongoing pain and suffering that still resonate throughout Indigenous families. More and more I am realizing that my own journey of reconciliation is one of ongoing learning, conversations that explore the impact of our shared history, and seizing all opportunities to build new relationships with Indigenous leaders, elders and communities. The LGMA is committed to continuing to support local governments to connect with Indigenous communities and to work towards deeper and more meaningful engagement. There is a lot of great work already under way in many communities, and the ways in which they are engaging and building new relationships of trust and collaborative action is both exciting and significant. Conversations about acts of reconciliation and relationship-building are more frequent now among local governments, and you only have to look at the work being done in communities large and small – Victoria, Vancouver, Capital Regional District, Prince George, Smithers and Metchosin to name but a few – to realize how many are on a new journey towards building more respectful and constructive relationships.

One effort the LGMA has taken is the development of the first joint training for First Nations and local government staff. This pilot was designed to bring together First Nations and local government staff to share our differing perspectives and approaches to land use planning and management. It was a truly transformative training experience for the participants, and we are very grateful to the First Nation and local government professionals who led the development of the programming and those who joined us to try out this new training approach. As we wind up another busy year, I want to thank the LGMA team for their commitment to delivering high-quality training, and professional development and support to members and nonmembers alike. The Board completed a mid-term review of the LGMA Strategic Plan 2014-19 in September and commended the staff on their outstanding results and the progress towards completing the majority of the goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan. The LGMA staff are truly an incredible team of professionals and the key to the success of the Association. I also want to acknowledge the hundreds of volunteers that have supported the LGMA this past year in organizing activities, providing training ideas and speakers, and serving as guest faculty. Your contributions are absolutely essential to our success and ability to meet the needs of local government professionals across B.C. I also want to especially recognize the staff in Fernie and Chief Administrative Officer, Norm McInnis – our heartfelt condolences and prayers are with all of you in the aftermath of the tragic loss of your colleagues. Please know that the LGMA family stands by to help and support you in any way you need. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and I offer my best wishes for 2018. We look forward to serving your training and professional development needs in the new year! Nancy Taylor Executive Director

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018


By Sukh Manhas Young Anderson


Enforcement of Dispensaries a Grey Area


ith the impending legalization of recreational marijuana, local governments would be wise to be aware of the case of Delta (Corporation) v. WeeMedical Dispensary Society, 2016 BCSC 1566, and a number of other cases addressing the circumstances in which the courts have the discretion to refuse a local government’s application for an injunction requiring a medical marijuana dispensary to cease operations.

In WeeMedical, Delta sought an injunction from the British Columbia Supreme Court requiring the WeeMedical Dispensary Society to cease operating a medical marijuana dispensary within Delta’s boundaries. Delta based its claim for the injunction on the facts that the dispensary did not have a valid business licence, as required under Delta’s business licence bylaw, and that the operation of the dispensary was not a permitted use under Delta’s zoning bylaw. The Court in WeeMedical set out the well-established legal principle that an application by a local government for an injunction to enforce a bylaw should, except in exceptional circumstances, be granted where the local government has established that it is more likely than not that the bylaw sought to be enforced has been breached. In this case, WeeMedical essentially conceded before the Court that its operation was in violation of both Delta’s business licence bylaw and zoning bylaw. However, WeeMedical argued that the state of flux of federal marijuana laws, given the federal government’s stated intention to legalize recreational marijuana, amounted to exceptional circumstances justifying the refusal of an injunction. As to WeeMedical’s attempt to establish exceptional circumstances, the Court stated the following: [22] It is well-known that the federal government has indicated that it intends to take a different approach in terms of marihuana generally, if not medical marihuana… It may be, at the end of the day, that operations such as this will not be offside the criminal law. However, as a judge of this Court, I can only address the situation now in terms of what the current law is, not what it might be in the future.


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[23] In that respect, I agree with Delta that it is within its rights based on the current law to take the position that WeeMedical is operating an illegal business, which most certainly does not comply with the zoning and business bylaw requirements in that jurisdiction… [24] …Until such time as changes are made by [Parliament in Ottawa, Parliament in Victoria and Delta’s City Council], I must enforce the law as is currently in place. In the end, the Court granted the injunction sought by Delta and ordered WeeMedical to cease its operations within Delta’s boundaries. Since the Court’s decision in WeeMedical in August 2016, the federal government’s intention to legalize recreational marijuana has become much clearer. The steps to enact the proposed Cannabis Act are well underway, and the federal government has been unwavering in its statements that the Act will be in force in July 2018. In the present circumstances, local governments should be alert to the risk that, as the federal government moves closer to the enactment of the Cannabis Act, a court will find that exceptional circumstances do exist to justify the refusal of an injunction requiring a marijuana dispensary to cease operations. Law enforcement officials have already been experiencing difficulty in obtaining search warrants in relation to marijuana dispensaries due to the impending legalization of recreational marijuana. Many injunction proceedings have successfully enforced business licence requirements against marijuana dispensaries where licences had been refused by the local government on the basis that the operation of the dispensary was contrary to the federal prohibition against marijuana possession, sales and use. As we move closer to the legalization of recreational marijuana, a court may find that the impending legalization of recreational marijuana amounts to exceptional circumstances justifying the denial of an injunction. In the circumstances, local governments would be well served to act quickly to require marijuana dispensaries to cease operations and to implement an appropriate local regulatory regime, including prohibition of marijuana retail sales under zoning, if appropriate.

By Therese Mickelson, ABC


Cannabis Quandary

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018


Canadians are in a quandary over legalized cannabis.


epending on your viewpoint, legalizing recreational cannabis is being touted as a horrendous step that will destroy our society or an important step towards saving youth, protecting public health and reducing illegal activities. Or something in between, depending primarily on your age and where you live. Only time and experience will show the true outcome, but for local governments, the philosophical debate is irrelevant at this point. They have no direct control over how the federal and provincial governments will legislate the management of cannabis sales and distribution. What they must address is how the impending legislation will impact their communities and their operations, and there’s a short window of opportunity to address some key areas for zoning, licensing and enforcement before legalized recreational cannabis becomes law in July 2018. In British Columbia, the short timeframe is further compromised by the lack of details about how recreational cannabis will be managed in this province. Fortunately, with the basic framework shared in December, local governments can begin their planning for how to manage the retail sales component and can take some steps now to protect their ability to manage these new requirements in a way that aligns with their community’s priorities. To do this, local governments are seeking legal advice and looking to what has happened in other jurisdictions as a means to plan ahead and be ready for this new regulatory requirement. “What we are doing now is striving to make sure that when we do have legalized recreational marijuana that it’s handled in a responsible manner,” says Sukh Manhas, Partner at Young Anderson. “With the short amount of time between now and July, we likely don’t have enough time to do anything comprehensive at this point. We’re advising our clients to put something in place to be prepared and leave more time for a thoughtful process.”

The time crunch and lack of clear direction on what the legislation will look like in B.C. are being flagged as significant challenges by other legal experts as well.

“It’s disappointing that Canada doesn’t seem to be heeding some of the lessons (Colorado and Washington) learned and shared.”

Denise McCabe

“Retail sales in Colorado and Washington came online in 2014, and it’s disappointing that Canada doesn’t seem to be heeding some of the lessons they learned and shared,” says Denise McCabe, Barrister and Solicitor with Fulton & Company LLP. “The recommendation most commonly made was to take your time and do it right. They had about two years to plan and even then, they were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of licence applications in the various categories and the regulatory framework that was needed.” The sudden push – and tight timeframe – for the provinces and local governments to create mechanisms for managing recreational cannabis was instigated when the federal government announced in April 2017 that it would have the new legislation in place by July 1, 2018. The stated goals of the proposed Cannabis Act are to restrict youth access, including protecting them from the promotion and enticement to use cannabis, to deter and reduce criminal activity, including reducing the burden on the justice system, and to protect public health through strict product safety and quality requirements as well as public awareness of the health risks. The Act will allow for legal production of cannabis and for adults to possess and access cannabis for recreational use. The current program for medical purposes, known most often as medical marijuana, would continue under the new Act. Continued on page 8


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The Cannabis Quandary Continued from page 7

“There is a lot of good that can be achieved by de-criminalizing recreational cannabis, but the benefits will be lost if it’s not done in an organized manner,” says McCabe. Some of the key elements of the proposed federal Act involve setting age limits – you must be 18 years or older to possess or access cannabis – and there would be two new criminal offences with a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail for giving or selling cannabis to youth and using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence. There are also proposed prohibitions related to products or packaging of cannabis in a way that is appealing to youth, selling cannabis through self-serve vending machines or promoting cannabis where it can be seen by youth. The penalties for violating these prohibitions include a fine of up to $5 million or three years in jail. Adults would be able to possess and share up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis (or the equivalent in a non-dried form) and grow up to four cannabis plants in their home for personal use as long as they use licensed seed or seedlings. They can also make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, for personal use as long as they do not use solvents to do so. The controlled access also allows adults to purchase dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from provincially-licensed retailers or online from a federally licensed producer.

Other products, such as edibles, will not be permitted for sale until rules for their production and sale are developed in 2019. Under the new legislation, the federal government would be responsible for setting the requirements for producers who grow and manufacture cannabis, and establishing industry-wide rules for standards, including the types of cannabis that will be allowed for sale, the packaging, labelling and promotion requirements, standardized serving sizes and potency, prohibitions on certain ingredients and tracking of cannabis seed to prevent it reaching the illicit market. There would also continue to be criminal penalties for offences under the Cannabis Act. The provinces and territories would be tasked with the licensing and oversight of the distribution and retail sale of cannabis, subject to the federal conditions but with some flexibility to adapt the requirements to their provincial standards. Provinces can increase the minimum age for their jurisdiction, lower the personal possession limit, create additional rules for growing cannabis at home and restrict where adults can consume cannabis. While the information on recreational cannabis and the proposed legislation clearly outline the responsibilities for the federal and provincial governments, the impact on local governments and their communities has been less clearly defined.


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A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018


“I’m not convinced one solution will work well for all communities. But those discussions should start now to get a sense of what the community you serve wants to see in terms of the cannabis industry.”

“But those discussions should start now to get a sense of what the community you serve wants to see in terms of the cannabis industry.” Manhas agrees, noting that even if recreational cannabis is legal, the local government has the right to prohibit retail sales in their community. “You need to have a consultation program in place now to get a sense of what your policies should look like, and what constraints, if any, the community would like to see in place,” says Manhas. Continued on page 10

The reality for local governments in B.C. is that they have very little information or time to determine how they will manage the retail sales component. The B.C. government unveiled a general outline of how it will craft its policies for the sale of recreational cannabis in December, but it has only provided high level guidelines. The province will set the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis at 19 years old, which is consistent with the minimum age for alcohol and tobacco and with the age of majority in B.C. Like other provinces, B.C. will apply a government-run wholesale distribution model, with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) as the distributor for recreational cannabis. The province also noted that it expects that the retail model will allow for both public and private retail sales. The remaining details will be shared in early 2018, which means information such as revenue-sharing and public use have not yet been revealed. For local governments, this means there is a lot of uncertainty tied with building pressure to make sure they can establish the policies, procedures and regulatory requirements needed to manage this new industry effectively. They will need to consider zoning and where the sales and processing will take place. There may be impacts on business licensing and permit requirements. Local governments will also need to assess fire safety considerations and determine how they will handle enforcement. There will likely be an increased need for criminal record checks, and greater inspection and monitoring requirements to ensure the cannabis production and sales operations meet all safety requirements. Local bylaw enforcement will be impacted by problems such as odour concerns, use in parks or other areas where smoking is restricted and other complaint-based concerns from the community. There will be impacts related to social consumption and use in public places, as well as law enforcement issues related to youth cannabis use and impaired driving. All of these factors impact local communities, and how local governments decide to approach recreational cannabis management in their community will ideally be based on the overall sentiment of their residents. “When you look at things like the distribution model, retail model and consumption, the impact is really at the local level, and they have a lot at stake. I’m not convinced that one solution will work well for all communities,” says McCabe.


Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government

The Cannabis Quandary Continued from page 9

“If it’s an open door, you have no ability to control it. So close the door. When you are equipped to control it as you see fit, slowly open the door.” Sukh Manhas

Unfortunately, the challenge again for local governments is the lack of time to complete a comprehensive consultation program, let alone determine a detailed plan for zoning and other regulatory changes that require due process, such as public hearings. The consistent advice from the legal experts is to take some steps now to buy some time for better planning.

comprehensive plans are put in place. In most communities, the current zoning and business regulations likely have a very broad definition of retail sales that would include the sale of cannabis. If this isn’t addressed, these communities would have no choice but to authorize retail cannabis shops in all of their commercial zones – even if the zones are close to a school or a park.

“The prudent thing to do is to be ready for the moment the federal legislation is passed and have prohibitions in place now that can be scaled back later,” says Sara Dubinsky, Associate at Lidstone & Company. “As a placeholder, local governments can restrict cannabis sales in all zones as a temporary measure and then update the zoning to reflect and complement the provincial requirements once they are detailed.”

“What I’m hearing is that location is everything and local governments are going to have to determine the appropriate places for these businesses, and what the appropriate number of cannabis retail stores will be for their community. They don’t have the authority to limit the number of businesses of a certain class, which means the only way to deal with this is through zoning. But lack of time impedes their ability to figure out those details right now,” says Manhas. “If it’s an open door, you have no ability to control it. So close the door. When you are equipped to control it as you see fit, slowly open the door.”

The advice to prohibit cannabis sales everywhere is considered the best way to protect the community’s interests in the interim as more

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018


While communities have the option of maintaining this overall prohibition permanently, this can result in the risk that they will undermine the goal to reduce the illicit drug trade as people will simply seek out black market sales instead. “You don’t want over-regulation, but you also don’t want to under regulate,� says Manhas. “You’re aiming for the sweet spot to balance Sara Dubinksy both the interest in purchasing marijuana with the community’s concerns about the number of shops and where they are located. The theory is that if there’s an open supply of recreational marijuana, there shouldn’t be a need for illegal grow ops.� It’s also important to remember that if there are places that are already operating illegally in areas where local governments would not want those businesses to continue in the future, there will need to be enforcement between now and July to shut them down. “If local governments want to preserve their ability to impose controls through zoning, they will need to move quickly to shut down these illegal operations before the new regulatory regime comes online,� says McCabe. “If they are left to operate, these businesses will likely be grandfathered as lawful non-conforming and thus exempted from the zoning restrictions that are eventually put in place.� The other early actions local governments can be taking now involve looking at their human resource policies related to drug and alcohol and ensuring that there is a clear distinction between medical and recreational cannabis use. “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to the right to use medical but not recreational marijuana,� says Manhas. “You need to make sure that your policies directly address recreational marijuana and split it out from illicit drug use policies, because it will be a legal drug similar to alcohol. You also need clear policies for addressing violations in the workplace.� Although there are still a lot of questions and uncertainty around how to regulate this new industry, local governments are advised to pull together their working group now and start discussions with their communities. Councils and Boards will need to be kept informed and involved in the planning process. There are also multiple touchpoints throughout the organization, with key staff who should be at the table to help plan for the impacts of recreational cannabis use and sales. The business regulatory group, such as licensing and bylaw enforcement, can start considering how these new businesses will be licensed, and what bylaws or other regulatory requirements will need to be added or updated. Building inspections can provide important insights into permit requirements and how business operators and people who are growing cannabis at home will impact building safety. Continued on page 12


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The Cannabis Quandary Continued from page 11

The planning department is needed for the review of zoning and related policies to prohibit or restrict the number of retail operations, and corporate officers are essential for drafting bylaws needed to implement new policies. “There are a lot of things to think about. It’s a whole new type of business that includes zoning and business licence impacts, but it’s also a ‘new’ social activity that will need to be regulated, including edibles, topicals, smoking and the distinction between medical and recreational marijuana use,” says Dubinsky. “And there will be impacts on residents such as growing in single family homes versus multi-family or apartments where growers and users are sharing a structure with other individuals.” Ideally police and fire representatives are involved to provide insights into how to address the potential safety risks. Experiences in places like Oregon and Colorado have shown that there are significant fire safety risks stemming from the use of solvents to extract hash oil, and edibles come with their own serious health and safety risks due to the lack of control over the dosage amounts. While these types of production and use are not permitted under the proposed Cannabis Act at this time, experience shows there will still be problems in the community.

“It’s a whole new type of business that includes zoning and business licence impacts, but it’s also a ‘new’ social activity that will need to be regulated.”

The finance staff will be involved in assisting with appropriate fee structures and how the new regulatory services and other elements will fit within the budget. Human resources should be at the table to review how the new legislation affects workplace policies. It’s also ideal to have someone from communications involved to assist with leading an information and community engagement campaign. “This is a monumental change and that’s not something we see very often,” says McCabe.

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018


“My personal experience, as I present on this across the province, is that there is a real divide around the concept of readily available recreational cannabis. Often, when I speak with people in their 20s and 30s, it’s a no brainer, but others are seriously opposed. It’s going to be essential for local governments to tap into what their community wants the local cannabis industry to look like.” Part of the community outreach is to balance the interests of the community. Some residents may be frustrated by the blanket restrictions in place until more detailed zoning can be determined, while others will not understand what is happening and the role of local government in the mix. This means that local governments will need to be communicating about what they are doing, including the intent of the broad prohibition as a temporary measure while they consult with the community on how residents want to see cannabis sales set up in their community. At the same time, the information campaign should include details on what legalized recreational cannabis entails, what it might look like and the intent of the federal legislation. The community engagement component needs to delve into what residents want to see in their community. Residents would ideally be invited to share their input on whether they want to see retail cannabis sales in their community, and if so, where. They can weigh in on some of the regulations being considered, such as distance from playgrounds, schools and parks, and how many retail operations they would like to see in the community. It’s also important for the community to understand the scope of the local government’s authority. “Municipalities are not in the business of enforcing other jurisdictions’ requirements unless it’s also a municipal requirement,” says Dubinsky. “There will be aspects of cannabis use and sales that fall under the authority of Health Canada, and others that will still be criminal offenses that involve law enforcement. Local governments will have their own separate layer to deal with, for example to ensure properties are safe, are not a fire risk and have passed inspections.” Even with advance planning, there is no question that there will be challenges, but there are also some potential benefits. Beyond the goals identified by the federal government to reduce youth consumption and end illicit sales, there is also the potential for better research on the impacts of using cannabis as a recreational drug. The philosophical debate and broad range of viewpoints will continue to affect communities. But for local governments, the reality is that they need to start taking steps now to protect their communities in the interim, develop a team with the expertise and insights into how this will impact their organization and their community, and allow time for a thoughtful approach to managing these new regulatory requirements in a way that reflects the priorities in their community. ❖


Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government

Cannabis Regulation Case Studies By Therese Mickelson, ABC

As Canada prepares to legalize recreational cannabis use, governments at all levels are looking to the experiences in the United States where individual states have passed legislation to allow recreational cannabis production, sales and consumption. Their experiences and lessons learned provide guidance to governing bodies in Canada who are

DENVER – FIRST THROUGH THE GATE In 2013, the City of Denver adopted its Retail Marijuana Code, making it one of the first cities in the U.S. to begin regulating recreational cannabis at a local level. Since then, Denver has become one of the leaders in implementing a regulatory model designed to meet the needs of its residents. “The Mayor said we’re opting in – our voters want this – so we’re going to jump in with both feet and devote resources to this new industry,” says Dan Rowland, Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Excise & Licenses, City and County of Denver. “The Mayor’s directive set a tone for City employees that we’d roll up our sleeves and do this well.” Rowland notes that the key to their success lies in recognizing that this new, legalized industry touches on all aspects of local government. They pulled together a multi-disciplinary team with representatives from across the organization and set priorities that focused on regulation, enforcement and education.

grappling with the potential demands stemming from this new industry and will ideally help them avoid some of the pitfalls. The following case studies provide insights on how legalized recreational cannabis is impacting communities and the local governments that serve them.

“As I imagine the case is in B.C., people in Denver are extremely passionate about the quality of life here – it’s a wonderful place to live and you don’t mess with that. Our goal as a team was to fold the new requirements for cannabis into our day-to-day operations so the quality of life in Denver remains unchanged,” says Rowland. “What helped us do that is a coordinated management model. Get people to realize that this affects all your different sectors of government. And then the key is to be flexible and nimble so that when you learn about some new issue, you can have all the right people in the room to figure out how you’re going to address it.” The City considered regulations around the time, place and manner for sale and use of recreational cannabis. They set proximity restrictions for the sale of cannabis, such as requirements for 1,000-foot setbacks from schools, daycares, other stores and drug treatment facilities. They received voter approval to add a 3.5 per cent City sales tax on all recreational cannabis purchases, and they determined the requirements for zoning, licensing and inspections for all operations.

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This included considerations such as where retail sales could be located, hours of operation, inspection requirements and video monitoring. They also identified the need to address odours, lights or other impacts that could affect other businesses or people in the area. “One of the challenges was how to manage the inspection model,” says Rowland. Dan Rowland “We’ve now created a coordinated inspection model where all of our cannabis-related businesses get inspected by four or five different City agencies in addition to state inspections, and those inspection agencies talk to each other as well as the business operator.” Some of the inspections are required before issuing a business licence, such as ensuring they are operating in the right zone and have secured a facility that meets both state and local requirements. The building inspectors check all construction that has been done to modify the building and ensure signage meets requirements. Fire inspectors are involved prior to the business licensing, but also continue to inspect each facility twice a year for fire prevention.


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There are also inspections by the environmental health department, which continue on an annual basis. In addition to the regulatory component for licensed businesses, the City had to consider where people could use cannabis products. It was determined they could only use it in private homes. This affected residents who may not own their home and were not permitted to use it in their rental apartment, as well as tourists. There was considerable debate about whether it was acceptable to use cannabis products on the front porch as this is in view of the public street. It was finally determined that this would be allowed as it was on private property. The decision to limit where cannabis could be used reflected the priorities in their community. “If we had set it up that you could smoke marijuana wherever you smoke a cigarette, our voters would never have tolerated it,” says Rowland. “For as progressive as we are, we still have a pretty conservative approach to using it in plain view of anyone. Frankly, our approach is to regulate it tightly because it’s easier to loosen things up as we go along rather than tighten them after the fact.” Continued on page 16

Cannabis Regulation Case Studies Continued from page 15

Even with the advance planning and a full team to help with implementation, the City was still caught by surprise when they moved into full operation. Part of this was the sheer volume and speed of businesses that wanted to get up and running. “From an administrative and licensing standpoint, it was a tonne of work,” says Rowland. “We were able to get 18 stores up and running for January 1, 2014 when stores were first allowed to open, and state-wide there were only 35 or 40 in total. We had hundreds more to get licensed as there was a mad dash for the industry to find locations that fit within our standards.” As they quickly ramped up, some early challenges arose that caught Denver by surprise, including a couple of unanticipated challenges that affected safety. One was related to hash oil extraction, and the other was pesticide use on the plants. “It seemed like overnight everyone started extracting hash oil and blowing things up because of the solvents being used,” says Rowland. “We couldn’t figure out if it had been happening before and we didn’t know because it was illegal, or if this was something new now that home growing was allowed. But we had a number of explosions with significant fires so we moved quickly to ban solventbased extractions outside of licensed facilities.”

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“It’s not going to solve your fiscal issues... it’s not that kind of money. But it did help create jobs in the public and private sector.” The pesticide use on crops was a more complicated challenge as the City doesn’t have jurisdiction over pesticides. Acceptable levels of pesticides on crops are a federal responsibility, but there was nothing established for cannabis as it remains illegal at the federal level. This meant that even though fire and health departments were finding large amounts of pesticides at processing facilities, they didn’t know how much was being used and could not regulate directly. Instead, the City developed a work-around based on public health concerns. “We used our local public health authority to flag that there is a consumer health and safety issue with consuming plants with too much pesticide on them, so if you’re giving your marijuana plants a bath in pesticides, you can’t sell them in Denver,” says Rowland. “From a public policy and government affairs perspective, this approach enabled us to stay in our own lane for jurisdiction while still addressing the issue, and it was done to protect our residents, our industry and our customers from ingesting products that could be harmful.” Given its focus on quality of life, the City has tracked data on crimes related to cannabis use and has not seen any significant increase in this area. In fact, Rowland describes marijuana-related crime, underage possession and industry-related crime as a “tiny fraction” of overall crime in Denver. However, the larger strain on law enforcement has been to manage black market activities. Because legalized recreational cannabis is not in place federally, there have been problems with black market sales to illicit operations in other states. “We inadvertently provided a way to hide in plain sight because it could be a licensed facility legally producing supply for the Colorado market, but in other cases, it could be an illegal operation sending it out of state,” says Rowland. “The only way to deal with it is through strict enforcement of the laws here in Colorado and that’s what we’ve done.” Based on their experiences, Rowland is proud of the fact that the new cannabis industry has not negatively affected Denver’s quality of life. Their approach has allowed the industry to grow and evolve, with more than 1,100 businesses operating at nearly 500 locations. At the same time, they caution other governments about the cost of regulation. Even with the shared revenue with the state and the City’s additional taxation mechanism, the new industry generates just three per cent of the City’s revenue.

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“It’s not going to solve your fiscal issues or make it possible to fix all your roads and bridges and build brand new schools,” says Rowland. “It’s not that kind of money. But it did help create jobs in the public and private sector.” Another unforeseen benefit is that their working group approach has improved Denver’s ability to take on these types of large projects and deliver them successfully. “You throw a huge administrative challenge at us and we’ll do it in a big way, and now we’re able to apply similar methods to other issues like affordable housing and homelessness,” says Rowland. “It has been, if anything, an example of good public policy in Denver that shows we can handle a big challenge.”

THE OREGON EXPERIENCE The State of Oregon has only had about a year to gain experience with managing legalized recreational cannabis, but they have already gained insight that is beneficial to others going through the process. At the state level, regulators introduced comprehensive measures to manage the licensing of producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers, and established requirements for worker permits for employees of any marijuana business.

Continued on page 18


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“Early on, we formed a Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) to help formulate how we would regulate the industry, and it included representatives of local government and law enforcement,” says Mark Pettinger, spokesperson for the Recreational Marijuana Program at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). “We were not compelled to have Mark Pettinger the RAC but we felt it was a good idea from the get go to be inclusive and tap into the industry and others to determine how to regulate the industry and manage the process. Having the municipal perspective at the table was key, and they were involved from the very beginning.” Managed through the OLCC, the regulatory framework involves licenses for the various types of operations, and they included revenue-sharing to support a range of services, including 10 per cent shares each to cities and counties for law enforcement duties related to recreational cannabis. The state system also allows cities to add a local sales tax if supported by their citizens. Continued on page 18

Cannabis Regulation Case Studies Continued from page 17

The OLCC established the requirements for retailers, which is the only licence type that can sell to the public, and there are strict limits on what they can sell and when they can operate. Retailers cannot provide free samples or sell the hazardous materials used for extraction, and they must verify the age of every customer, which also means no self-service vending machines. Retailers must have security, including video recording, alarm systems and panic buttons, and all cannabis items must be in locked storage during non-business hours. To help manage the detailed state requirements and also ensure the local governments are able to regulate how and when these operations are established in their community, the OLCC created a Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS), which a local government must approve, indicating the proposed cannabis business is compatible with local zoning before any licence will be issued. “There are local time, place and manner regulations that the local jurisdictions can apply so they can manage things like noise or odour abatement,” says Pettinger.

“Every week there’s always something new we didn’t anticipate that we have to address. You need to be flexible and respond to each issue as it comes up.” “But we also have the LUCS that they can use if they want to be more selective in where they want a business to go. If a jurisdiction doesn’t approve a certain business, we don’t go forward with the licensing.” As the OLCC’s rules took effect, local governments worked with the OLCC for guidance on how to manage the new regulatory requirements. Questions arose about how to apply the regulations as well as how to address social consumption, such as at events where people may be found carrying cannabis but not using it or when they were at locations where alcohol consumption was permitted.



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“This is so new that there are a lot of ‘we didn’t think of about that’ situations, but it’s a natural formation of the industry being in its infancy in terms of regulation,” says Pettinger. “Every week there’s always something new we didn’t anticipate that we have to address. You need to be flexible and respond to each issue as it comes up.”

“I think a lot of people were surprised that legalizing marijuana actually created more civil enforcement, such as building codes and nuisance enforcement.”

Pettinger also recommends that Scott Winkels organizations focus on public outreach prior to establishing the rules and then ongoing outreach once the regulations are established. “My best piece of advice is you need to set up opportunities such as meetings and town halls where you get the opportunity to listen to your community,” says Pettinger. “Crafting legislation, or rules and regulations is a fine art with a lot of compromise involved. And on this topic, there’s the possibility of polarization, so it’s good to have a lot of input to help figure out the right path.” While the OLCC has established clear guidelines and regulations based on public input, there are still local challenges that affect the cities and counties who are also involved in regulating this new industry. “I think a lot of people were surprised that legalizing marijuana actually created more civil enforcement, such as building codes and nuisance enforcement,” says Scott Winkels, a lobbyist on behalf of the League of Oregon Cities, which is a governmental entity that works with its member cities to help local government better serve the citizens of Oregon. Winkels notes that many cities were also surprised by the level of concern about where the cannabis businesses would be located. There was broad-based support for ending prohibition, but when it came to licensing operations, there was push-back from residents. “Public support does not mean they want it next door,” says Winkels. “Even communities that have been strongly in favour are now dealing with odours and other issues. It’s one thing when discussed as a philosophical concept, but in practice, it’s a very different issue.” Cities in Oregon have experienced other negative impacts from the legalization of cannabis. They have seen an uptick in driving while drugged, which is based on data on people being found with cannabis in their system as part of crash investigations. Impaired driving is a challenge to address as, unlike testing for blood alcohol levels, there is no test for cannabis impairment, and police officers have to be trained as drug recognition experts to be able to do an assessment. Another challenge stems from the sheer volume of cannabis being produced. Cannabis grows abundantly in many regions in Oregon due to the ideal soil and climate conditions. Continued on page 20


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Cannabis Regulation Case Studies Continued from page 19

This means that even though the law restricts each residence to four plants, the plants can grow as high as 10 feet, which means they can be seen even when in fenced yards and they generate strong odours. “Odour is a significant issue. These plants stink like skunk so there are a growing number of neighbour complaints,” says Winkels. Most cities are using their existing odour ordinances – originally to deal with pet waste – to mitigate problems with odours from home growing. Other cities are requiring residents to move the plants inside to stop odours from spreading.

The enforcement costs are also affecting cities. While there is some revenue sharing from the state and local governments can seek a local taxation option, the revenue is not solving any financial problems, and instead many cities are losing money due to the added costs. Based on the financial challenges, Winkels strongly recommends that local governments take time to improve the tax and revenuesharing formula before legalized recreational cannabis is in place.

tips & tactics Planning for Legalized Recreational Cannabis Steps to take now: • Develop a working group that includes representatives from across the organization, including: ∙ Building permits and inspections ∙ Business licensing ∙ Finance ∙ Human resources ∙ Corporate officer ∙ Police and fire ∙ Communications ∙ Bylaw enforcement • Initiate an information and engagement campaign with your community to gain insight into their priorities for cannabis retail sales and use • Identify illegal cannabis operations in the community and shut them down if you want to ensure they cannot claim lawful non-conforming status • Review human resource policies to ensure that they address medical and recreational cannabis use, including removal of cannabis as an illicit drug • Review the experiences in places like Oregon and Colorado to gain insight into how local governments can be impacted by recreational cannabis • Seek legal advice where needed to develop policies that will support effective management of legalized recreational cannabis in B.C. Many thanks to Sukh Manhas with Young Anderson, Denise McCabe with Fulton & Company LLP and Mark Pettinger at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for their assistance with developing these tips and tactics.

Resources: • Oregon Liquor Control Commission resources for regulation of recreational marijuana, including licence types and forms, business readiness guide and Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS): • Tips on what’s legal in Oregon and responsible use of recreational marijuana: • Stories from licensees related to Oregon’s recreational marijuana licences: • League of Oregon Cities ( Marijuana resources for local governments, including a guidebook and frequently asked questions for local regulations: www.orcities. org/MemberServices/AZIndex/tabid/810/itemid/4557/language/ en-US/Default.aspx • Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse ( Cannabis Regulation: Lessons Learned in Colorado and Washington State: pdf#search=all%28cannabis%20regulation%29 • Colorado Deparment of Public Safety ( dcj-ors) Marijuana Legalization in Colorado: Early Findings: • Young Anderson ( Legalizing Cannabis: A Joint Effort: • BC Government Cannabis Regulation: An overview on cannabis and details on B.C.’s community engagement process and outcomes: • Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Cannabis Regulation submission and survey: policy-areas/community-safety/marijuana-regulation.html

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018


“There were city leaders who were supportive of removing any form of prohibition, but I’m not sure what it’s really done to improve or add any benefits at a local level,” says Winkels. “We still have a problem with illicit selling as we produce so much, and there’s illegal exporting to other states that’s a continued challenge for us.” As cities in Oregon continue to resolve challenges and implement the new regulations, they have advice for their counterparts in other communities. A key step is to engage with stakeholders, including residents, and to recognize that there is no such thing as a single marijuana industry. “There’s no unified voice that speaks for the marijuana industry. Indoor and outdoor growers don’t like each other, the medical people are worried about whether supply will all go to recreational use, and shop owners are competing with each other,” says Winkels. “My advice is to pull together a diverse group and don’t assume that the person you’re talking to will have a representative view.”

He adds: “As you move forward, having a good relationship with those who are being compliant with the regulations will be very helpful when it comes to enforcement and problem solving – they’ll report those who are not.” It’s also important to figure out exactly what citizens want to see in their community. It’s important to ask tough questions about growing plants in the home, where they want business operations to be located, tolerance levels for youth exposure and other factors that affect the overall community. “It’s a very emotional topic for a lot of people,” says Winkels. “The community where I’m from spent a great deal of time and energy to determine how they wanted to proceed. I think they did an outstanding job of communicating with the electorate and other key stakeholders to determine the tolerance levels for where they would allow these shops, and it seems to be working.” ❖

LGMA: More for Our Members Have you renewed your membership yet? LGMA memberships are renewed at the beginning of each year. Membership renewal forms have been mailed to each organization’s primary contact, who is responsible for confirming their organization’s named members (by either renewing, adding or removing employees) and providing payment.

Renewal instructions are available in the Membership section at, and payment can be made online or by sending a cheque along with the renewed members’ names to the LGMA office at Suite 710A-880 Douglas St., Victoria B.C., V8W 2B7. Questions may be directed to or 250-383-7032.

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SPECIAL RECOGNITION Board of Examiners Thirteen local government employees, recognized for their education and work experience in the local government field, are being awarded Certificates by the Board of Examiners: Certificate in Local Government Service Delivery • Ashley Bevan, Executive Assistant, Regional District of North Okanagan • Nicole Brown, Executive Assistant, City of Castlegar • Tasha Buchanan, Deputy Corporate Officer, District of Barriere • Daniel Fish, Corporate Officer, North Coast Regional District • Lorne Fletcher, Manager, Community Safety and Municipal Enforcement, City of Langford • Haylee Gould, Administrative Assistant, District of Mission • Jennifer Miles, Planner/Planning Assistant, Regional District of North Okanagan • Janice Nicol, Legislative Committee Clerk, City of Vernon • Clayton Postings, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture, Town of Ladysmith • Adriana Proton, Deputy Corporate Officer, Village of Cumberland • Nicole Thurman, Executive Assistant, City of Kimberley • Rachael Ward, Bylaw Clerk, Corporation of Delta Certificate in Local Government Statutory Administration • Carol Newsom, Chief Administrative Officer, District of Chetwynd

Congratulations to the 2017 Scholarship Recipients 2017 Grant Anderson Commemorative Scholarship • Layla Clarkson (University of Victoria) • Vikki St. Hilaire (University of Victoria) 2017 LGMA Distinguished Members Legacy Fund Scholarship • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Kelan Deigh (University of Victoria) Rachel Dumas (Camosun College) Sarah Dynneson (University of Victoria) Andrea Hainrich (Capilano University) Karendeep Hira (University of Victoria) Emily Huang (University of British Columbia) Kristen Kohuch (University of the Fraser Valley) Damian Kowalewich (University of Victoria) Aria MacColl (Capilano University) Ronald Neufeld (University of Victoria) Geoff Parker (Camosun College) Monika Schittek (Capilano University) Laura Schumi (University of Victoria) Adrasteia (Alisa) Thompson (University of Victoria)

MEMBER MOVEMENT Bob Ambardar, Director, City Lands, City of Coquitlam (formerly Engineering & Facilities Manager, City of White Rock) Mark Andison Chief Administrative Officer, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (formerly Director of Planning and Development, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary) Kelsey Bates, Executive Assistant, Peace River Regional District, (formerly Executive Assistant, City of Dawson Creek) Brooke Browning, Municipal Clerk, Resort Municipality of Whistler, (formerly Contract Lawyer, Horricks Law) Dawn Christenson, Director of Finance, Town of View Royal (formerly Chief Financial Officer, Strathcona Regional District)

John Illes, Chief Financial Officer, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (formerly Resource Manager, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) Maryse Leroux, Corporate Officer, City of Kimberley (formerly Director of Corporate Services, City of Cranbrook) John MacLean, Chief Administrative Officer, Cariboo Regional District (formerly Chief Administrative Officer, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary) Mira Malkowsky, Deputy Clerk, District of Clearwater (formerly Deputy Corporate Officer, District of Sicamous) Susan Meeds, Director of Finance, Village of Burns Lake (formerly (2003) Director of Finance, Village of Nakusp)

Brett Clark, Manager, Parks & Facilities, City of Kimberley (formerly Facilities, Town of Canmore, AB)

Wayne Mihalicz, Recreation Facilities Coordinator, City of Vernon (formerly Manager, Parks & Facilities, City of Kimberley)

Bernice Crossman, Manager of Financial Services, City of Duncan (formerly Director of Finance, Village of Burns Lake)

Chris Mummery, Senior Manager of Operations, City of Kimberley (formerly Manager of Utilities, City of Kimberley)

Sophia Demasi, Chief Financial Officer, Village of Cache Creek (formerly Finance Administration, Village of Cache Creek)

Wesley Renaud, Budget Analyst, City of Penticton (formerly Director of Finance, District of Clearwater)

Dave Devana, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Cochrane, AB (formerly Chief Administrative Officer, District of North Cowichan)

Gary Schatz, Economic Development Coordinator, Town of Princeton (formerly Economic Development Officer, Municipality of ChathamKent, ON)

Mike Fox, Manager Operations & Environment, Regional District of North Okanagan (formerly Senior Manager of Operations, City of Kimberley)

Roxanne Shepherd, Director of Finance, District of Clearwater (formerly Chief Financial Officer, Bulkley-Nechako Regional District)

Stacey Hadley, Corporate Officer, Town of Creston (formerly Executive Assistant, City of Brooks, AB)

Greg St. Louis, Director of Utilities, Kitchener Utilities, Kitchener ON (formerly Engineering & Municipal Operations, City of White Rock) Continued on page 23

2017 Ken Dobell Public Service Education Fund Scholarship • Elyse Goatcher-Bergmann (University of Victoria) • Tannis Nelson (University of Victoria)

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018




Ted Swabey, Chief Administrative Officer, District of North Cowichan (formerly City Manager, City of Maple Ridge)

January 17-18 Clerks and Corporate Officers Bootcamp Pacific Gateway Hotel, Richmond

Lisa Teggarty, Deputy Director of Finance, District of Sparwood (formerly Chief Financial Officer, District of Mackenzie)

February 15-20 MATI The Successful CAO Bowen Island

Dennis Trudeau, Local Government Consultant, DMT Local Government Consulting (formerly General Manager Transit and Solid Waste, Nanaimo Regional District) Anitra Winje, Case Manager, Kootenay Career Development Society (formerly Corporate Officer, Central Kootenay Regional District) Sarah Winton, Deputy Corporate Officer, City of Nelson (formerly Manager, Nelson and District Youth Centre) Melissa Zahn, Clerk-Secretary Receptionist, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (formerly Deputy Financial and Deputy Corporate Officer, Village of Fruitvale)

RETIREMENTS Janis Bell, Chief Administrative Officer, Cariboo Regional District Andrea deBucy, Director of Finance, City of Colwood Jan Gibson, City Clerk, City of New Westminster Laurie Anne Schimek, Municipal Clerk, Resort Municipality of Whistler Ronda Wilkins, Executive Assistant, Peace River Regional District


February 20-22 CAO Forum Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront, Vancouver April 11 Elections Workshop (in conjunction with North Central LGMA Chapter Conference April 12-13) Ramada Inn, Prince George April 12 Elections Workshop Four Points Sheraton, Kelowna April 12-13 North Central LGMA Chapter Annual General Meeting and Conference Ramada Inn, Prince George

April 26-27 Rocky Mountain & West Kootenay Boundary Chapters Annual Joint Conference Invermere April 27 Elections Workshop River Rock, Richmond May 15 MATI Approving Officers Workshop Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria May 15 Administrative Professionals Workshop Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria May 15 Communications Workshop Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria May 15 Awareness of Mental Health at Work Workshop Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria May 15 Creating a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Workshop Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria

2018 RELATED PARTNER PROGRAMS & EVENTS January 31-February 2 Local Government Leadership Academy Radisson Hotel, Richmond March 21-22 Municipal Finance Authority of B.C. (MFA) Financial Forum and AGM Victoria April 4-6 Local Government Administration Association Annual Conference & Tradeshow Red Deer, Alberta May 6-9 Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Annual Conference St. Louis, Missouri May 20-23 International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) Annual Conference Norfolk, Virginia

April 18 Elections Workshop (in conjunction with Vancouver Island LGMA Chapter Meeting April 19-20) Tigh-Na-Mara, Parksville

May 15-17 LGMA Annual Conference and Tradeshow Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria

May 28-30 Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) Annual Conference & Tradeshow Fredericton, New Brunswick

April 19-20 Vancouver Island LGMA Chapter Meeting Tigh-Na-Mara, Parksville

May 27-June 1 MATI Managing People in Local Government Organizations (CAPU/ LGMA) Bowen Island

May 31-June 3 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference Halifax, Nova Scotia

June 17-22 MATI Leadership in Local Government Organizations (CAPU/ LGMA) Bowen Island

May 30-June 1 Government Finance Officers Association of B.C. (GFOABC) Annual Conference Kelowna

April 22-27 MATI Advanced Communication Skills (CAPU/LGMA) Bowen Island April 25 Elections Workshop (in conjunction with Rocky Mountain & West Kootenay Boundary LGMA Chapters Joint Conference April 26-27) Invermere

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June 7-13 Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO) Annual Conference

MEMBERS PAGE OUR TOWN: TOWN OF SMITHERS The Town of Smithers is located on the scenic Highway 16 corridor in northern British Columbia, halfway between coastal Prince Rupert and central Prince George. Smithers is home to more than 5,400 people and is a significant service and shopping centre for the surrounding rural region. Downtown Smithers boasts a thriving Main Street with an active core of independent businesses that profile the diverse interests and opportunities available to visitors and residents. With its red brick sidewalks, street trees and outdoor seating, Main Street is a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented attraction that sets the community apart within the region. The vitality of downtown Smithers is further enhanced by Bovill Square, an award-winning public gathering space featuring an attractive timber-frame stage that showcases more than 40 bookings annually. From yoga lessons to outdoor movie nights, free concerts and events like National Aboriginal Day, residents and visitors alike enjoy and experience the charm of Smithers. Infrastructure improvements to the downtown core are ongoing with a public washroom recently installed just off Main Street and a new town-owned parking lot with an electric vehicle charging station. Upgrades to the 1970s landscaping along Main Street are also underway, and new small businesses keep popping up including two new microbreweries set to open next summer. The Town’s commitment to health and wellness is evident in its successful community partnership projects that include upgrades to the local bike park, a dedicated off-leash dog park, ongoing improvements to soccer fields, a proposed skate park expansion and accessibility upgrades to the Town’s outdoor perimeter trail system, as well as a shared goal to provide affordable housing. Thanks to the visible improvements and work done by community organizations, business owners, Council members and Town staff, Smithers received a 2017 Age Friendly Community award from BC Healthy Communities and was recognized with a 2017 Great Place award nomination from the Canadian Institute of Planners. In addition to its local community partners, the Town of Smithers is also pleased to have an active and meaningful partnership with the Office of Wet’suwet’en. The Town and the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have a protocol agreement in place and are working together to foster a healthy dialogue through ongoing quarterly meetings and community-to-community forums. Surrounded by snowcapped mountain ranges and located on the Bulkley River, Smithers offers convenient access to the backcountry and excellent fishing, water rafting, mountain biking and hiking. Anglers enjoy easy access to rivers, streams and lakes for trout, salmon and steelhead. As one of B.C.’s top six mountain towns, Smithers’ Hudson Bay Mountain Resort provides downhill skiing for novice to experts, and it is just a 20-minute drive from Main Street. Also close to town are 45 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails at the Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre. The spectacular natural setting in and around Smithers offers a wide range of sports and recreation and provides something for everyone in every season. Just this summer, Smithers hosted the 2017 BC Bike Ride North.

Snow and holiday decor add to the magic of downtown Smithers’ Main Street, a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented attraction whose features include an active core of independent businesses and the award-winning Bovill Square (below), host to more than 40 bookings annually.

Smithers has an active arts and culture scene with a large musical community, a thriving community radio, an award-winning library, and an art gallery and museum. There are a variety of events offered for entertainment and enjoyment all year round. Annual events such as the Midsummer Music Festival and the Fall Fair are the summer’s biggest events with thousands of people converging in Smithers to partake in these celebrations. The Smithers Regional Airport is currently undergoing major improvements to the terminal with significant investment into the modernization of the building and the heating system. The current terminal modernization project will expand the departure lounge, add accessible washrooms and incorporate an impressive geo-exchange field for heating and cooling. Having an efficient and attractive airport will enhance transportation options and help share the charm of Smithers with the rest of the world. Come and visit us! Experience all that our town has to offer and discover what makes Smithers such a unique northern B.C. community. – Jane Stevenson, Executive Assistant

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Winter 2018


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Exchange Winter 2018  

The Cannabis Quandary: In this issue we explore how local governments are approaching the legalization of cannabis.

Exchange Winter 2018  

The Cannabis Quandary: In this issue we explore how local governments are approaching the legalization of cannabis.

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