Summerland has a policy statement and regulations governing the location of cannabis stores in the community, although those regulations have been questioned.
At the municipal council meeting on Feb. 10, Dave Stathers, a Summerland trustee on the Okanagan Skaha School Board, said the buffer zone in Summerland’s regulations is inadequate.
Stathers and others on the school board have said council should revisit the existing 50-metre buffer around schools, community and youth centres, libraries, parks and playgrounds.
The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone.
In addition, the municipality sends the application referral to all internal departments, the school district and the Summerland RCMP detachment, allowing 15 days for a response.
A public consultation process is also included in the application process, with a notification sign, newspaper advertisement and a mailout to adjacent residents to gain feedback.
Cannabis retail stores are permitted in the downtown and in the Summerfair Shopping Centre.
Anthony Haddad, chief administrative officer for Summerland, said an application to put a cannabis retail store in another part of the community would involve a rezoning application.
There is no limit on the number of license applications in the community, nor is there a limit on how close one store may be from another.
Other communities in the region have stricter criteria.
For example, cannabis shops in Penticton must be at least 300 metres from a school.
In addition, stores in the downtown area must be no closer than 300 metres from each other. Outside of the downtown area, a cannabis store must be at least 750 metres from another cannabis retail store.
In Vernon, a maximum of six cannabis retail stores are allowed in the downtown business improvement area.
While some in the community have raised concerns about the existing regulations in Summerland, Haddad said there are no plans at present to revisit and rework the policy.
“At this stage, there’s no direction from council to look at any changes to the policy,” he said.
He added that those with concerns about the policy should send their views to council in written form or by email.
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