City reviewing how Edmonton cannabis store next to daycare was approved

City officials are looking into how a retail cannabis location was approved to open in the same strip mall an Edmonton child-care facility operates out of.

The mayor said the administrative review will also examine whether the coexistence of these two businesses goes against local bylaws and council’s intent. Don Iveson hopes the probe will also will bring some clarity to the city’s regulatory process.

“I understand the city is going back and looking at what the circumstances of the approval were around the cannabis retail outlet next to childcare,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“I believe it was council’s intent for that not to happen with the separation requirements.

“There may be some complexity with implementation or there may be additional clarity needed in the bylaws.”

Iveson said the legalization of cannabis and the city’s response, including applications, licensing and other location rules, happened quite quickly and bylaw amendments might be needed.

April 29, 2018: A report heading to an Edmonton committee for debate this week recommends the development permit and licensing fees for cannabis stores should cost applicants $8,100. The price tag is much higher than costs incurred to an average business in Edmonton, and one councillor suggests it comes with the industry. Julia Wong reports.

“We did our best and overall the feedback’s been that our regulatory regime has been fairly smart and fairly flexible to try to make this happen, but it was something that was imposed that happened this quickly,” the mayor said.

“There will be learnings and there will be adjustments that will be required and so the review of whatever happened here is appropriate, and I look forward to the findings.”

The daycare is on 76 Avenue near 70 Street. The cannabis retail signs are posted and it is scheduled to open in a couple of weeks.

Edmonton’s separation rules dictate how close to a “sensitive-use area” — like a school or a similar store — a licensed cannabis shop can be.

Feb. 2018: Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said there will be a 100-metre setback rule around retail cannabis stores. Stores can be open between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Municipalities will have the power to develop their own bylaws within these rules, Ganley said.

The zoning bylaw dictates cannabis retail sales can’t be located less than 100 metres from any site used for community recreation, health care, or “any site designated as school reserve or municipal and school reserve.” It also prohibits cannabis retail sales less than 200 metres from any library, public or private education site.

Iveson explained one of the challenges is that council delegated some decision-making power to development officers with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, who may interpret the rules differently.

“If council needs to clarify its intent — that we didn’t want this activity adjacent in any way, shape or form, and there’s no suitable mitigation for it — we can amend the bylaw accordingly.

“I think the review will produce a report,” he added. That report will have options for council, and council will be able to be crystal clear about our will.”

The mayor didn’t have a timeline for the review.

— With files from Scott Johnston

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