1 pot store for Charlottetown area 'far fetched,' public meeting hears
Proposed bylaw specifies buffer zone between shops and schools
The City of Charlottetown should be lobbying for more than one marijuana shop, a public meeting into a bylaw regarding the stores heard Monday night.
The city held the meeting to present its plans for a bylaw to regulate the shops in the city, but resident Shaman Ferraro came to express his concern over the impact of having just one provincial store to serve the greater Charlottetown area.
"I would highly recommend you ask the province to put more in Charlottetown," said Ferraro.
"We have a liquor store in Stratford, down on Queen Street, Oak Tree up at Sears, over in Cornwall, and to think that one cannabis store is going to suffice for the greater Charlottetown area and not create a bottle neck of congestion and traffic is a bit far fetched in my opinion."
Ferraro suggested bylaws regarding marijuana sales should be harmonized with those regarding liquor and tobacco sales.
I think it's unfair to treat one substance different from the other if we're looking at controlling substances and the public." he said.
Buffer zones recommended
The recommendations from the city planning committee for the bylaw include a 300-metre buffer between sensitive areas like schools and day cares and cannabis retailers.
The suggestion is that the stores only be allowed in three zones: highway commercial, shopping centre commercial and mixed-use corridor commercial.
The planning department also suggested council may want to look into putting a rule that says establishments have to be 1,000 metres apart, in case more stores are permitted in the future.
Province to make an announcement on locations
The province has said there will be four stores in the province: one each in Charlottetown, Summerside and Montague, and one somewhere in West Prince.
In an emailed statement, the Finance Department of finance said more information regarding the specific provincial sites is expected in the next few weeks. The department also said it has plans for buffer zones to separate the stores from sensitive sites.
"Municipalities can add or change bylaws to reflect the distance they wish to enact for this limitation, however through the selection process we have supported 300 meters." the statement said.
"We have had and will continue to have discussions with municipalities throughout the process, however, the province does not have to wait until municipal bylaws are enacted to choose sites."
Neither Montague or Summerside have bylaws regarding cannabis retailers, but spokespeople for both municipalities said there have been some preliminary discussions.
Public comments on the Charlottetown bylaw will be accepted until 5 p.m. Tuesday.
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