“We are not anti-business,” said Councillor Mario Zanth, as he introduced a Notice of Motion, with the support of Councillor Samuel Cardarelli, during the October 5 committee of the whole session of Clarence-Rockland council.
Council approved the motion, which asks the provincial government to revise its regulations dealing with approvals of cannabis retail store applications. Clarence-Rockland wants the province to municipal concerns about the potential for clustering of cannabis retail stores in business neighbourhoods. Council also suggests a mandatory 150-metre distance set between cannabis retail sites.
Zanth’s motion noted that the Eastern Ontario Health Unit expressed concern that clustering of cannabis retail stores “may encourage undesirable health outcomes”. The city’s economic development and planning department is also concerned about the potential impact clustering could have on a business neighbourhood, including distorted leases rates for adjacent commercial buildings and discouraging other businesses from locating in the neighbourhood.
“We need to do something sooner, rather than later,” said Zanth.
The Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) oversees cannabis retail outlets and approves applications for such businesses. Right now there are three applications under review for cannabis retail stores in Clarence-Rockland.
Council wants the AGCO to consider clustering as part of its evaluation criteria for cannabis retail applications and pay more attention to municipal comments about the location of such businesses.