Port Hope, Ontario town councillors will decide whether to change current zoning bylaws to include future medical cannabis facilities.

Municipal planner Theodhora Merepeza recommended allowing the facilities to fall under the zoning category of “general employment zones.”

Merepeza discouraged using agricultural land for the greenhouses since, in her opinion, a medical cannabis facility requires access to “a lot of water and hydro.”

While councillors debate and have allowed for public input, the Port Hope Police Service and Port Hope Fire Department have expressed concerns about a grow facility operating in the municipality.

“A site with a large grow operation is a very real target for thieves looking to obtain free, high-quality product for the illegal market,” police chief Bryant Wood wrote in an e-mail to Merepeza.

Fire chief Jim Wheeler wrote in an e-mail to Merepeza that the facility would pose a potential fire hazard.

“If there is a fire or any other emergency call to that address, we are going in blind to the dangers that may be present,” Merepeza said.

Former council member and real estate agent David Turck suggested a facility could be built in a relatively vacant business park south of Hwy 401 where a new police station is soon to be located. “I can’t think of anywhere more secure,” Turck said.

A decision on the zoning will be made September 15.