Couns. Megan Chernoff Hanson and Graham Parsons speak with one of the many atendees at the open house on April 11. Town Councillors and the Mayor was on hand to answer question about the proposals from Town staff. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Sylvan Lake brings forward cannabis suggestions at open house

The Town of Sylvan Lake held a Cannabis Open House on April 11

Many Sylvan Lake residents came out to the cannabis open house Wednesday night to hear what Town staff is putting together for the bylaws.

The legalization date is getting closer, and the Town of Sylvan is working to create bylaws that work for the area.

Town staff used information gathered from the online survey to figure out what areas are important to Sylvan Lakers.

“This isn’t Council’s opinion or the thoughts of Council. This is the Town staff’s thoughts,” explained Joanne Gaudet, communications officer with the Town.

Staff asked those who came out to the open house to give their feed back and thoughts on the information present. The feedback forms will be further disseminated and put together to create a bylaw which is expected to come before Council in June.

The online survey gave a lot of information, many of the Town’s residents filled it out which Gaudet says was very useful.

The feedback given was wide raging with many falling in the “neutral zone” while there were a few extremes on either side of the fence.

Given the information gathered, Sylvan Lake Mayor says the results of the survey weren’t too surprising.

“The results were just as diverse as our population, though I think most landed somewhere in the middle,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre said he was particularly happy to see the large number of Sylvan Lake residents out for the open house, who took the time to be informed not only about what Sylvan Lake is looking at doing, but what the federal and provincial governments have in store as well.

The open house had a few rushes of people over the course of the evening. One rush occurred around roughly 4:20 p.m. which McIntyre says wasn’t planned.

“Part of our responsibility as a municipality is education, and that is something we take very seriously,” said McIntyre.

The regulations suggested by Town staff, as a result of the online survey, are fairly liberal when compared to some other municipalities.

For instance, about 55 per cent of the survey responses said cannabis should be allowed at outdoor festivals and events, though this is stipulated that it should be in designated areas. An additional 10 per cent said there should be no restrictions at these events.

More than half of the survey responses said they were either “not at all concerned” or “somewhat unconcerned” with the legalization of the substance.

“Impaired driving was a large concern for many of our residents, and we will be looking into what can be done on our level, and using it as an education point,” said Gaudet.

Considered Land Use Regulations

  • Administration is proposing a 150 metre buffer zone between cannabis retail stores, and Provincial health facilities, public libraries, indoor municipal recreational facilities, community centres, and schools;
  • Administration is proposing a separation distance of 150 metres between cannabis retail stores.

Considered Public Consumption Regulations

  • Administration is proposing to expand smoking restrictions (bans) to include:
  • Public parks and playground properties (including Sylvan Lake Park/Beach, and off leash dog park); and
  • Municipal facilities/properties where children or youth frequent (including the NexSource Centre, Library, and the Family and Community Centre);
  • The Town of Sylvan Lake will also update our smoking bylaws to include definitions associated with cannabis, and broaden our public smoking restrictions associated with tobacco.

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Based on provincial and municipal proposed set backs, the areas shaded in blue on this map of Sylvan Lake are areas where a cannabis retail location may open, based on approval.

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