School divisions concerned pot stores on Broadway would be too close to schools

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon considers zoning changes for cannabis businesses' Saskatoon considers zoning changes for cannabis businesses
WATCH ABOVE: Saskatoon is considering amendments to its zoning bylaws to accommodate cannabis-related businesses. – May 8, 2018

Representatives from the Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools divisions are concerned retail cannabis stores could be located too close to students on Broadway Avenue.

The City of Saskatoon is proposing zoning which would permit cannabis stores in commercial and industrial areas, so long as they’re at least 160 meters from sensitive areas such as child care centres, parks, public libraries, community centres and schools.

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With both École Victoria School and Oskayak High School located on Broadway, a 160-metre buffer zone would eliminate this area as a potential location for a marijuana store so city administration is proposing a separation distance of 60 metres instead.

If there's a 60-metre separation distance. students at Oskayak High School would be a short distance from retail cannabis stores.
Broadway Avenue was described as a compact and unique commercial district Tuesday afternoon. Representatives stated Broadway should be an exception to the 160-metre proposed separation distance. Wendy Winiewski / Global News

The Broadway Business Improvement District (BID) wants the economic benefits of cannabis outlets, but the school divisions said business shouldn’t take precedence over student welfare.

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With a 160-meter separation distance between schools and retail cannabis stores, Broadway Avenue would the only commercial district where a retail cannabis store could not operate. City of Saskatoon / Supplied

“The students in that part of town shouldn’t be treated any differently than the students in any other school in the city,” Saskatoon Public Schools facilities Supt. Stan Laba said.

“Perception is part of it, how things are procured is part of it, what comes with the activity is part of it.”

The city committee voted in line with the school divisions, opting not to treat Broadway Avenue any differently than anywhere else in the city.

The discussion will go before Saskatoon city council at the end of May.

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