LETTER: Limits needed on locations of cannabis retail stores

Consult our two-page municipal policy and regulations relating to cannabis retail establishment

Dear Editor:

I have inadvertently become a spokeperson for the majority of local merchants in our downtown area, without asking for it and I will live with it.

However the usual consequence of expressing your opinion can be found in the comments section in the online Summerland Review.

Reading some of the comments, I wonder if there is a clear understanding of the unique and beautiful layout of our downtown, We have two schools, a recreation facility, a beautiful park, a library and a youth centre, all within 300 meters of each other, right in the heart of downtown Summerland.

Relating to the other negative online comments directed at my business, it fits the usual pattern of threats instead of meaningful dialogue. Therefore, l need to clarify my personal opinion regarding this issue related to the possibility of opening of an unlimited number of cannabis retail establishments in the downtown core of Summerland.

I am not opposed to any cannabis retail establishment in Summerland as they are a business just like a liquor establishment.

I invite the public to consult our two-page municipal policy statement and regulation relating to cannabis retail establishment in our town. No restriction on the number of retail cannabis stores. No established buffer zone between cannabis retail stores.

The most disturbing of all, in the policy statement and regulation of the District of Summerland there are suggesting a guideline 50 meters with an option to forgo the buffer zone to permit the opening of cannabis retail establishments near schools, playgrounds, parks or community centres if they feels it will be an asset to the town.

Many other jurisdictions have instituted a minimum of 300 meters buffer zone from youth oriented area such as schools, playgrounds, community/youth centres, and parks.

At present, I am aware of three applications to open cannabis retail establishments.

I agree with Coun. Erin Carlson who stated during the last election how impressed her family was of our own downtown, because of the vibrancy and the diversity of what we have to offer such.

Tourists and visitors come to Summerland because we offer a unique shopping experience, a quaint welcoming hometown feel, a safe meandering atmosphere and no smoking scent everywhere.

READ ALSO: Petition urges limits on retail cannabis stores in Summerland

READ ALSO: Regulations vary for cannabis retail stores

I am not so sure people will drive from Vancouver or Kelowna to shop in our cannabis retail shop. At the end of the day, is the $400 dollars business license revenue that important for the district?

To the council members, I am sure, you are aware of the drug issue we have in Memorial Park especially in the summer. You are also aware that a group of parents are working hard to receive a possible $100,000 grant to upgrade Memorial Park for local families.

Why would you consider allowing downtown cannabis retail establishments to operate across from a youth and family area. Meet with local downtown merchants and seek their input regarding this issue.

What is the position of the School District 67 on this issue?

I would also invite the public to get involved in this process, simply by communicating with the district of Summerland administration or our elected officials. Once the door is open, it will be hard for the community to stop it and I do not want to see Summerland become an attraction for the wrong reasons. Please get involved and send your comments to corporateofficer@summerland.ca or simply phone their office at 250-494-1373.

It is your community.

Roch Fortin

Summerland

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