City to consider application for second cannabis retail store in Swift Current
The proponent of a second cannabis retail store in Swift Current has submitted an application for a change of use development permit to the City.
Michael Ruus, the City of Swift Current's general manager of planning and development, presented the application at a regular council meeting, Jan. 14.
Councillors approved a motion to give public notice of their intention to consider this application for a discretionary use in the in the downtown area, which is zoned as a direct control central downtown district.
The application by Westleaf Retail Inc. and 102014474 Saskatchewan Inc. is proposing the use of the premise at 220 Central Avenue North in the downtown business area as the location for the cannabis retail store.
“From our perspective, looking at downtown development, we want to see vacant spaces filled,” Ruus said after the meeting.
“So I think that's a positive that we have a new business that is wanting to invest in the community and move forward to help employ people and grow the community.”
The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) approved permits for two cannabis retail stores in Swift Current. Saskatchewan entrepreneur Kevin Tindall of 102014474 Saskatchewan Inc. was selected through a lottery draw as one of the successful applicants for a store in the city.
The City approved the development permit for the other store in early October and it opened for business at the end of December.
Cannabis retail is a discretionary use within the direct control central downtown district and this application will follow the same process as the first one.
A discretionary use under the City's zoning bylaw must be approved through a resolution at a council meeting. A number of steps must be completed before councillors take a final decision.
The development permit application will be reviewed by the City Planning and Development Division, other City departments and external agencies.
There is also an opportunity for adjacent property owners and the public to provide input on a proposed discretionary use.
A public notice will be mailed to all assessed property owners within a 75-metre radius of the proposed development site, it will be advertised in two consecutive editions of the Southwest Booster, and this notice will be posted on the City's website. A public hearing will then take place at a regular council meeting.
Ruus said it is important that residents use the opportunity for public input on a development application or project in the community.
“We’re constantly striving to improve and make sure that people have the opportunity at the very least to be involved if they’re interested in giving their feedback so that we can make better decisions at the end of the day,” he mentioned.
The City's decision to make cannabis retail stores a discretionary use was actually a result of submissions at a public hearing last August.
There were six written submissions when the application for the other cannabis store was considered last year. One was in favour of the store and five objected to the proposed development. Ruus was not aware of any complaints to the City about that store since it opened in December.
“I don't believe we've received any concerns or complaints with the operation of the existing retail cannabis outlet,” he said. “At the end of the day it's a retail use. There is no consumption occurring on site. As part of that prior analysis of that application, the nuisance aspect, based on all the professional literature we could find, appeared to be negligible, quite similar to a pharmacy or many other retail operations.”
Proposed zoning bylaw amendment to allow liquor stores:
Councillors approved a notion of motion to advise the public of their intention to make textual amendments to Zoning Bylaw No. 24-2014 to add liquor stores as a permitted use in the area zoned as C4 shopping centre commercial district.
Pioneer Co-op requested the proposed textual amendment to the zoning bylaw, because the company will then be able to proceed with a potential new or change of use development at the Wheatland Mall.
This textual change will also mean the existing liquor store at the Swift Current Mall will be in compliance with the bylaw.
City Chief Administrative Officer Tim Marcus told the meeting there was an oversight by administration when the liquor store at the Swift Current Mall was developed around 2005, because there was no amendment then to allow liquor stores as a permitted use in this shopping centre commercial district. The proposed textual amendment will therefore correct that error.
A public notice will be published in the newspaper and there will be a public hearing for this proposed amendment at a future regular council meeting.