Annual Mayor's Breakfast in Ruthven

The Leamington District Chamber of Commerce held its annual "Mayors' Breakfast" at Colosanti's in Ruthven Friday morning.

Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald and Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos laid out highlights from last year and the priorities for each municipality in 2019.

MacDonald said cannabis is a big issue, with the town opting in for hosting a retail outlet and four key producers locally.

"This is here and the accompanying industries are here why not," said MacDonald.  "But that does not mean we'll be the cannabis capital.  We're looking at being the greenhouse capital and encompassing everything."

She also admitted council needs to resolve some outstanding problems with pot and those greenhouses that are producing it.

"Smell abatement, light abatement, a resolution that works for the residents but also the growers," said MacDonald.

MacDonald was asked by reporters about the shakeup at Aphria, with chief executive officer Vic Neufeld and co-founder Cole Cacciavillani leaving their executive positions with the company but staying on the board.

"We personally know Vic and Coley and John.  I have the utmost faith in them and that may be a move they need to legally, I'm not sure, but we still have faith in that company," said MacDonald.  

MacDonald added Leamington and other towns and cities that have opted in for hosting cannabis retail stores are in a "state of limbo" right now with lots of unanswered questions, such as funding from senior levels of government.

As for 2019, the first-term mayor see a major sewer line to service the greenhouse and residential sectors, waterfront development and uptown revitalization as the top three priorities for town council.

-- with files from Teresinha Medeiros and Paul McDonald