Sylvan Lake cannabis retail applications to open sooner than expected

Sylvan Lake Town Council has approved the application process to open on Aug. 13, 2018.

The Town of Sylvan Lake will soon be accepting applications for cannabis retailers. Town Council passed the third reading of the Cannabis Retail Sales bylaw at Monday night’s regular meeting.

The bylaw amends the Land Use Bylaw to allow the sale of cannabis in five districts within the limits of the town at Council’s discretion. Cannabis retail will be permitted at Council’s discretion in the following commercial and direct control districts:

  • Neighbourhood Convenience District (CN);
  • Neighbourhood Shopping Centre District (CNS);
  • Highway Commercial District (CH);
  • DC—50 District; and
  • W—DC District with the exception of those parcels fronting along Lakeshore Drive between 39 Street and Wildrose Drive.

“The rationale behind these recommended districts is to encourage an even dispersion of cannabis retailers in a variety of commercial districts within the Town,” the report to Council states.

Originally, Council had planned to withhold final reading of the bylaw until cannabis was legalized across the country. However, it was the recommendation of administration to give the reading now and begin accepting applications as of Aug. 13.

Since the second reading of the bylaw on June 11, administration has been developing an approach from processing the incoming applications, and are now confident in the established process.

“A date of August 13, 2018 … will allow staff time to finalize business licensing procedures and provide advanced notice to the public of the Town’s process for approving a cannabis store.”

The development permit application is the first of four steps in the process of opening a cannabis retail location, according to the Town. For the development permit to be accepted, the applicant must list the location in the on of the five approved areas.

Following the development permit, the applicants will then move forward with a building permit, then the right to occupy and finally business license.

“However, the Town would impose a condition on the development permit requiring that a Cannabis Retail Sales shall not operate until enactment of federal and provincial legislation,” Town Planner Trina Lamanes told Town Council.

Having the application process open on Aug. 13, Town staff believe the the first cannabis retail locations will be ready to on Oct. 17, when the substance is federally legalized, or shortly thereafter.

Retailers would have to also follow the rules set out by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), as well as the Town’s bylaws. The application process through the AGLC will not be complete until the applicant has municipal approval.

Because of this, the Town is considering splitting the application process in two, which will satisfy the conditions of AGLC, as there are concerns about approving an application without prior provincial approval.

Council will further discuss amending the Business License Bylaw at the Aug. 27 meeting of Council

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