A screenshot of Kyle Murphy’s presentation to Council showing where the proposed shop would go in relation to the Town’s setbacks for cannabis retail locations, shown in yellow. Photo Submitted

Sylvan Lake Town Council denies downtown cannabis shop application

The cannabis shop wanted to open in Varsity Mall, but was in violation of the 150m setback

Sylvan Lake Town Council has chosen not to allow a new cannabis shop to open in the downtown area.

Firestone Cannabis applied to open a new store in Varsity Mall, which is in the Waterfront Control Area, which mean Town Council has the final say in any applications for the area.

The sticking point for many councillors on the application is the store’s proximity to areas where children gather, primarily the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library.

When cannabis was legalized Sylvan Lake Town Council decided retail locations cannot be with 150 meters of a health care facility, recreation centre, school or public library.

The Province states a new cannabis retail location cannot reside within 100 meters of those facilities.

While Town staff felt the application should be approved, because the distance from the library to the specific unit, a difference of about 20 meters from the Town’s requirements, would be negligible.

Kyle Murphy, president of Firestone Cannabis, presented his case to Town Council at Monday night’s meeting, hoping to swing the vote in his favour.

“By reviewing the goals of Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan it is clear that a cannabis retail development at this site is congruent with Council’s efforts to revitalize the Waterfront Area,” Murphy said in his presentation.

Murphy continued saying the location would benefit from being surrounded by other adult-orientated businesses, such as a convenience store, a liquor store and other businesses that mostly cater to adults.

Coun. Megan Hanson said she was in favour of the application, because the Varsity Mall location faces away from the library and is set back from the sidewalk, making it less likely children would walk in the store.

She said the back corner of Varsity Mall would be the “ideal location” for a cannabis retail shop in the downtown area.

However, other councillors were not in favour of the application, stating the 150 meter set back was put in place for a reason.

Mayor Sean McIntyre said he went back and worth on his decision, saying he is in favour of bringing new business into the downtown but the setbacks for cannabis retail were put in place for a reason.

“Ultimately I look at the other locations… they worked hard to work with our regulations and have set up in other areas, away from places like the library,” McIntyre said.

The motion to allow Firestone Cannabis to set up shop in Varsity Mall was defeated with a four to two vote. Coun. Kendall Kloss was not present at the meeting, and did not cast a vote.

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