City wants 1-block gap between pot shops and schools, but Broadway could be exception
Relaxed buffer of 60 metres could allow one store to operate in area, city says
The City of Saskatoon wants seven future local pot stores to be located at least a block away from schools, parks and public libraries.
The city has suggested a minimum "separation distance" of 160 metres, which it compares to the length of one downtown block on 2nd Avenue.
The proposal comes after the city heard back from 3,700 people via an online survey and another 405 people via an "online research study" commissioned from Insightrix.
"Input received through the public surveys identified the protection of youth or vulnerable persons as a principal area of concern," according to the city.
Different rules for Broadway?
But a one-block rule within the city's compact Broadway business area — which includes both Ecole Victoria School and Oskayak High School as well as numerous shops — "will have the impact of eliminating this area from consideration for a cannabis retail store," the city says.
For that reason, the city is floating the idea of relaxed buffer of only 60 metres for Broadway.
"Support for this use locating within the [business improvement districts] was high among the survey respondents and an alternative approach to applying separation distances in the Broadway District warrants consideration," according to the city.
Councillor approval needed
City councillors would need to change an existing bylaw for the location rules to come into effect.
But the city says time is of the essence with pot potentially becoming legal some time this summer.
"If legalization occurs without specific regulations in place, a cannabis retail store could be legally established in Saskatoon anywhere that a retail store is permitted."
CBC News has reached out to the Broadway Business Improvement District, as well as the divisions representing both schools, for comment. The Saskatoon Public Schools Division, which represents Ecole Victoria School, said no one was available for comment.
The issue is scheduled for discussion at city hall on Monday morning.