Sylvan Lake Town Council approves cannabis retail development permit

At the recent Council meeting, a cannabis retail application was discussed along with franchise fees

The Town has received five applications for development permits to begin the process of opening cannabis retail locations within Sylvan Lake.

Of those five applications the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved four, but the fifth one needed Council’s approval.

The property, located at 5044 50 S., is in an area that is discretionary use. That mean Council can approve the application at their discretion.

“The property is an existing commercial building which currently houses an indoor merchandise sales. The applicant is proposing to split the space into two so that a portion be used for Cannabis Retail Sales,” the report to Council states.

Council and MPC made a favourable motion given the applicant follows a specific set of conditions.

1. The development permit is not valid until the coming into force of the Cannabis Act (Canada).

2. The development permit is not valid until the issuance of a cannabis license under the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act (Alberta) for the premises.

3. The use shall not emit nuisances including, but not limited to, odour, noise and light that may have a negative impact to adjacent sites surrounding the area.

4. No outdoor storage or outdoor display areas shall be allowed on the site.

5. It is prohibited to have cannabis products, accessories or any other cannabis related item or material visible from the exterior of the premises.

6. The applicant ensuring:

a. Compliance with all Federal, Provincial and Municipal Statutes, Regulations and Codes;

b. Compliance with the Town’s Land Use Bylaw 1695/2015;

c. Compliance with the Town’s Water & Sewer Bylaw.

d. The applicant maintains a valid Town of Sylvan Lake Business License.

e. Any intensification or change in use of the property will require a new development application.

f. Any signage may require a separate development application.

This is only one step in the process to opening a cannabis retail location in Sylvan Lake, as the Town recently passed a two-step licensing process for cannabis stores. As well as following the bylaws in place by the Town, applicants must also gain licensing from the Province through Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

Before taking the application before Council for approval, Town staff went to neighbouring properties to discuss any potential concerns. Only one concern was brought forward in regards to the application.

One neighbouring business was in opposition to the proposed development of cannabis retail sales downtown due to the “current drug use seen downtown at night.”

No other concerns from neighbouring businesses or Town staff were give at the time of the council meeting on Sept. 24.

During the Sept. 24 meeting of Sylvan Lake Town Council, it was improved to increase the franchise fees for FORTIS Alberta and ATCO Gas.

Council approved the increase of the FORTIS Alberta franchise fee for 2019 to 15 per cent. The previous fee was at 12 per cent, and has been at that rate since 2016.

The ATCO Gas franchise fee was also increased to 27 per cent. The fee was increased to 23 per cent in 2016.

The municipality has the option to increase the franchise rate yearly up to 20 per cent for FORTIS Alberta and up to 35 per cent for ATCO Gas.

Franchise fees are payments made by utility companies to municipalities to obtain an exclusive franchise to provide utility distribution services within the municipal area.

The revenue generated from the franchise fees are placed in Capital Reserves for the municipality to draw for future Capital endeavours.

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