Advisors seek a new perspective on opaque business storefronts

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Two Winnipeg city councilors are concerned that the walls of opaque pottery store windows could affect the appearance of some streets.

“Clusters” of cannabis shops are popping up in some areas, with view-blocking windows that “negatively impact the aesthetic value of our commercial streets,” according to a motion from Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski), seconded by Council. Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan).

Sharma pointed out that she doesn’t care what a single pottery store looks like, but having many such windows nearby could mar the image of a street. The city requires stores to have opaque window displays.

“Empty walls along sidewalks can impact the aesthetic value of neighborhood commercial streets if not done properly… The problem is that the city currently has no guidelines to follow,” Sharma said in an e-mail to Free press.

For example, a large number of pottery shops now operate on McPhillips Street, with some enhanced with images and graphics, which the city might consider requiring for all stores, she said.

Josh Giesbrecht, owner of Uncle Sam’s Cannabis in the Exchange District, has said he would prefer the blackout window requirement to be removed entirely. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press Files)

“Exterior appeal is important, so we want to make sure stores protect the privacy of their customers, but at the same time there could be some built-in design elements that complement the area,” she said. .

The motion could also cause the city to explore a minimum possible distance between cannabis stores and / or request that they be located a minimum distance from schools, Eadie said.

“Legalizing cannabis is great, but you don’t want it to influence kids to make (certain) lifestyle choices.”

Currently, the city allows the construction of cannabis stores wherever retail is permitted. In the past, the province has helped examine possible locations, but the senior government phased out the practice last year.

Josh Giesbrecht, owner / operator of Uncle Sam’s Cannabis in the Exchange District, said he would prefer the blackout window requirement to be removed entirely.

“It’s not welcoming and it almost hides us in some ways… As soon as you add the blackout windows, it makes the whole mall which (a cannabis store) not look so good,” Giesbrecht said.


The rule to have blackout windows was lifted in Alberta after thefts took place from stores no one on the street could see, said John Arbuthnot, general manager of Delta 9. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press )

The rule to have blackout windows was lifted in Alberta after thefts took place from stores no one on the street could see, said John Arbuthnot, general manager of Delta 9. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press )

He opposed the idea of ​​mandatory buffer zones between these stores and schools.

“We are in no way allowed to have any advertising that refers to or is directed to any underage person. It’s a strict Health Canada law… so I can’t really see (the school buffer zone) like a huge difference maker. ”

John Arbuthnot, CEO and co-founder of Delta 9 Cannabis, said he would also like the blackout window requirement to end, but largely for security reasons. The rule has already been removed in Alberta after thefts took place from stores no one on the street could see, he said.

“This obviously poses a safety risk,” he said, adding that the rule was intended to prevent minors from seeing cannabis products, a step he is not convinced is necessary. .

If the city restricted where a cannabis store can be built, such rules could drastically reduce possible locations and hamper the growth of the industry, he said.

“You want to consider the competition, you want to consider what’s best for the neighborhood, but you also want to consider, in any restriction, are there any unintended consequences here that could go the wrong way? ”

The motion to study additional rules for cannabis stores has been referred to the council’s property and development committee.

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Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Journalist

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne enjoys telling the stories of this city, especially when it comes to politics. Joyanne became a City Hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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