‘It’s so tempting’: Peterborough parent says it’s time to reassess cannabis zoning rules
Shanthi Terence says she has no problem with cannabis stores, but when they encroach on residential areas, she worries about the temptation they might provide.
In particular, she is concerned about the planned opening of a facility adjacent to the halls of residence on Water Street in Peterborough, a stone’s throw from the main Trent campus.
Currently, there are 14 approved cannabis locations in Peterborough with five more awaiting approval, including Kawartha Leafs. It is slated to open right next to Champlain College’s Anex units, in a plaza that also includes a gas station and convenience store, a Subway restaurant and a car wash. Peterborough This Week was unable to reach the owner for comment.
Terence says that given its location, it’s just too tempting for the students who live next door.
“I mean, I know it’s available elsewhere, but you should see the location. It’s right next to the fence, which is between her and the residence.
Terence, who has a son who will start college in the fall, says any parent would be concerned about the store’s proximity to where their child will be living.
“I have no problem if they have them somewhere else, in a downturn or something like that,” she says.
But she thinks some level of government needs to step in and revise regulations around where living spaces are close.
The Cannabis Act, a federal law that legalized access to recreational cannabis in Canada, came into effect at the end of 2018. It establishes a strict set of rules outlining who is eligible to operate a cannabis store, how the product must be protected and displayed and what can be legally sold in the store.
The approval process is long.
It also states that a cannabis retail store cannot be located within 150 meters of a school or private school, as defined in the Education Act.
Com. Stephen Wright, who represents the Northcrest neighborhood where the Kawartha Leafs are located, says he has yet to hear residents’ concerns about its location or proximity to student residences.
“I haven’t received any complaints. I have no emails, nothing about it,” he says, adding that it has become more of a provincial affair.
“I think one of the issues with cannabis store locations is that it’s all provincial laws. If you remember, there was Big Boy’s Burger on Lansdowne. The guy owned a convenience store and wanted to convert it into a Big Boy’s restaurant, and the city said no, no, no, no.
Wright says the reasoning behind the denial was primarily due to traffic issues.
“So it was rejected. But about a month after or two months after it was rejected, he came back to us and was like, ‘Hey…Egg on your face. After all the reasons why you said why i can’t have the burger joint, now i have a dispensary license.
“So all the reasons the City gave for why he couldn’t get a restaurant zoned. None of that matters now.
Wright says this situation is a good example of “overall provincial regulation and how municipal zoning bylaws are irrelevant when it comes to locating a marijuana dispensary.”
With the store planned for his neighborhood, he says it’s not near an elementary school or school, “and I think that’s the only zoning ordinance that the city government has control over. .”