Order of nuns opposed to location of Summerside cannabis store

An order of nuns in Summerside, P.E.I., is opposed to the location of a new cannabis retail store opening down the street from where they want to have a daycare.

'It is too close to our location here where we plan to have the daycare'

The Sisters of Sacred Heart of Jesus of Ragusa have built a convent at 403 Granville St., where they hope to eventually open a daycare. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

An order of nuns in Summerside, P.E.I., is opposed to the location of a new cannabis retail store opening down the street from where they want to have a daycare.

"It is too close to our location here where we plan to have the daycare," said Sister Margherita Ianni, of the Sisters of Sacred Heart of Jesus of Ragusa convent in Summerside.

The sisters are just starting to move in, but eventually there will be seven of them, and they plan to open a daycare centre in their building. They've already received permission from the city to do so.

Sister Margherita Ianni looks around the finished chapel inside the new convent on Granville Street. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"That's the reason why, one of the main reasons why, we came here was to open a faith-based daycare in Summerside," Ianni said. "We've always worked with young children and we know the impact that early years have on children."

1 of 4 government-owned retail stores

The former Starbucks on Granville Street will be one of four provincially-owned retail locations scheduled to open sometime this year.

The province's cannabis store in Summerside will be located in the former Starbucks. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Summerside councillor Tyler Desroches said he doesn't like the location of the cannabis store either. He said he would have preferred to see the province locate its cannabis store downtown.

He also doesn't like the store's proximity to Athena Consolidated, although the school is more than 300 metres away.

"Any new business is great, we're always looking to grow Summerside," he said.

"It's just, I would have liked to seen it in a different spot."

Councillor unhappy with location

He added that he approached some business owners to see if they were interested in bidding on the tender for the retail store.

A Summerside councillor is concerned about the location of the new cannabis store because of its proximity to Athena Consolidated School. (Tom Steepe/CBC )

"I really didn't want to see it in a school district or with Sacred Heart Parish going up right beside us.…There were a couple of places in the downtown core that I thought would have been ideal for it."

The cannabis store is located less than 200 metres from the convent, according to the city.

Summerside's current zoning bylaw does not require a specific distance between pot stores and daycares.

I really didn't want to see it in a school district or with Sacred Heart Parish going up right beside us.— Tyler Desroches

In an email statement to CBC News, a spokesperson from the Finance Department said it took proximity to schools into consideration when looking at possible locations for a retail cannabis store.

​"We will continue to work closely with the Summerside City Council as we move towards federal legalization of cannabis," the province told CBC. 

No one from the department could be reached Monday to clarify whether it was aware a daycare was planned down the road from the store.

Ianni says her group is continuing with its plans to open a daycare, although they do not have a firm opening date.

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Tom Steepe

Video Journalist

Tom Steepe is an award-winning video journalist with CBC P.E.I.