Penticton’s highest profile marijuana dealer, Jukka Laurio, is back before council this week. Staff is recommending that council authorize staff to begin legal proceedings against Laurio for operating his marijuana dispensary, Herbal Green, in violation of the city’s bylaws. Last week, the RCMP advised Laurio and two other Penticton dispensaries to cease operations.
Laurio has been subject to ongoing fines, including (as of March 10) two bylaw offences at $250 each and 59 municipal tickets at $500 each, for a total of $30,000 owing the city.
To date, the city has collected $26,900 in fines from marijuana dispensaries and spent over $10,000 in legal fees and staff time.
There hasn’t been any question about the need, but settling on just what kind of public washroom would be suitable for Penticton’s downtown has been a matter of much discussion by city council and staff over the past year. The downtown revitalization committee has finally recommended city council approve a two-unit model constructed by Timberwolf Precast of Golden, B.C.
The committee’s consensus is the washroom should be in the breezeway area, have a wood grain pattern impressed into concrete walls, the stainless steel feature should include a small sink, and that the building have the potential to add heating in the future. They also suggest the washroom be closed during winter months and Porta Potties provided.
City staff are recommending backing off changes to the city’s parking strategy, at least until the five-year-old plan can be reviewed. They’re wanting to suspend plans to bring in paid parking along Lakeshore and Riverside Drives, at Lakawanna Park and at LocoLanding. Resident-only parking should only be expanded to areas requested and plans to charge a fee for the program should be suspended until further consultation is undertaken.
Fire Chief Larry Watkinson recommends adding the Upper Carmi area into the RDOS fire protection agreement. The area, which has a growing residential population, currently has no fire protection.
The Downtown Penticton Association, 100 Homes, and the city’s bylaw services department are hoping to partner on installing a “Kindness Meter.” A kindness meter is a standard coin parking meter that is decorated and repurposed for donations to the homeless, allowing residents and visitors to donate their spare change. In Penticton’s case, the meter would be placed near the breezeway off the 200 block of Main Street, and the funds would go to 100 Homes, for redistribution to the Soupateria, Pathways, Compass House and other service providers.
Council is also considering a one-year pilot program for mobile retail trucks as part of the city’s existing food truck program. The program would allow for a maximum of two retail vendors like Chic Boutique to operate in the city.
Council meets at 1 p.m. on March 21 in City Hall.