Council reverses liquor sales buffer

By Geoff Lee

September 29, 2016 12:13 PM

The city will not be moving the yardsticks forward afterall to restrict new liquor retailers from being within a 300 metre radius of schools, parks or recreation activities.

Council overturned a 300m amendment in Section 5.2 of the proposed Land Use Bylaw and reset the distance to 100m as other municipalities in Alberta do.

The amendment had been advocated by Councillor Jason Whiting and was approved by council back on Aug. 22.

“At that time, I suggested we look at something like a 300m radial separation between parks, schools and recreational facilities with the intent to talk about alcohol usage and to slow the incoming liquor stores down a little bit because we do have a lot of liquor stores in our city,” said Whiting.

The regulation reversal followed public concerns that a 300m buffer would have a negative impact on business, restrict potential business growth and present enforcement challenges.

“It may be too restrictive within the north-south corridor,” said Coun. Linnea Goodhand, who made the same point when the amendment was passed at the August council meeting.

The failed 300m amendment didn’t apply to existing liquor retailers, but if an existing outlet closed and wanted to reopen, it would have been be subject to the new land use bylaw when it comes into effect.

Council gave first reading to the bylaw Monday after noting the 100m distance will stand.

“Today, it was made a little bit clearer about the decision and we took that (300m) away in order to recognize that 100m is a good distance,” said Whiting.

“It will allow us to have future conversations in regards to other ways we can regulate our liquor stores and everyone’s happy.”

While Whiting originally pitched for 300 m of separation, he felt the 100m regulation was a good start noting there was no bylaw to go by in the past.
“There wasn’t a land use bylaw—there was no way to regulate liquor stores and their positions and this is a good start— 100m is a good number,” he said.

The cities of Edmonton and Spruce Grove stipulate that alcohol sales must not be located within the 100m buffer.

Whiting was disappointed by the lack of discussion in council as he wants to open the dialogue about alcohol stores and usage in the city.

“Being that I brought it forward, I would have liked to have had a bit more about other ways we address the alcohol usage, the alcohol retail stores and how we look at other ways and ensure we are not providing too much ability to access liquor stores in our city,” he said.

At the Aug. 22 council speaker Lorelee Marin from YLL My Home noted there were 23 liquor stores and off sales stores in Lloydminster.

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