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Wednesday , 21 October 2020

St. Paul’s land use bylaw amended for cannabis store

Concerns of neighbouring landowners were quickly met by the prospective owner.

There is still work to be done with the Municipal Planning Commission before Boreal Cannabis will be able to start construction on their storefront, proposed to be located at 4225 – 50 Ave in St. Paul, but with the approval of an amendment to the town’s land use bylaw at Monday’s council meeting the store is one step closer to opening.

The bylaw was amended to allow a cannabis store to be located “within the C1 District on a site with frontage to 50 Avenue (Main Street) or service road adjacent to Main Street.”

“The side street on 50th is part of Main Street and complies with the intention when we had originally done this,” said Coun. Nathan Taylor when he made the motion to approve second reading of the amendment.

Coun. Norm Noel made the motion for third reading, and the change was approved.

As part of the process, Mitchell Boisvert of Boreal Cannabis reached out to the surrounding landowners for potential concerns in August.

According to the information provided to council, there were two responses to that outreach, raising concerns about the lighting in the back alley, proximity to where high school students go for lunch, and potential for consumption of cannabis in the back alley.

To mitigate those concerns Boisvert plans to install a camera monitoring the back door of the property, have a light located at the back door and loading area, install opaque frosting on the front window so the interior of the store can not be seen from outside, and post a “Cannabis consumption prohibited” sign on the back door to deter people from smoking behind the store.

“Mitchell had a great response to those that are concerned, and I appreciated the ability to accommodate,” said Mayor Maureen Miller.

Miller thanked Boisvert for working with the town through the process and working to bring the business to the community.

“Not always do we see all the implications of land use bylaws, so I appreciate you taking the effort,” said Miller.

In an interview after the meeting, Boisvert said Town staff have been extremely helpful through the process and confirmed the next step will be a meeting with the municipal planning commission to answer questions, followed by a three week waiting period.

“Basically, construction hinges on that. But as we go further and uncertainty kind of diminishes, we’ll start looking at putting some stuff in there [the proposed storefront].”

He said St. Paul is an underserved market as far as cannabis is concerned, but should absolutely want a cannabis store because it is a regional shopping hub similar to Slave Lake where the company is located.

“We bring in people from all over the area. I’m kind of in awe of how many people actually drive in to town to get that. It’d be like having a town without alcohol. I don’t want to say it’s a staple, but people do want that product,” said Boisvert.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.