Members of the public are being encouraged to make their views known regarding the issue of allowing retail marijuana stores within the city.
It’ll be January before Belleville decides whether or not there will be retail pot stores allowed in the city.
At Monday night’s city council meeting, Councillor Chris Malette made it clear he wants to hear from the public before making any decision.
Councillor Sean Kelly expressed some reservations about an online poll because he said you don’t know the sample size.
“We represent 50,000 people, not 70 to 80 people” (who might answer the poll).
“This doesn’t pass the smell test,” he said.
City clerk Matt MacDonald indicated the site could be set up so it would be known if a person gave an opinion more than once.
A number of councillors pointed to the fact there are many retail cannabis stores at Belleville’s eastern boundary right now.
Director of Engineering and Development Rod Bovay emphasized that the province is taking all the applications from marijuana contractors and making those decisions.
Mayor Mitch Panciuk noted people can participate in the “non-binding poll” or make written submissions to council.
The poll is expected to be on the city’s website sometime Tuesday.
Panciuk emphasized, “We’re not setting the rules, they are set for us,” referring to the province’s role in the cannabis stores issue.
The city has the option of opting in or putting it off, but the province decides where the stores will be located.
The province has set a deadline of January 22 for municipalities to decide on the issue.
If a municipality says “no” to pot stores, the decision is final, but if it approves retail outlets, there will be an opportunity for a change of mind before an, as yet to be determined, future date.
Council decided to establish an online the site for the public on the city’s website.
The decision on retail pot stores is held over for council to receive more detailed information, and make a decision at its January 14 meeting.