Hamilton city councillors are fighting against a cannabis retail store that wants to open up in Ancaster, and say the provincial government isn’t giving them much say in the matter.
Cannabis Roll submitted the application for 11 Hatton Dr. in Ancaster, which is currently pending on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) website. Despite city objections, Coun. Lloyd Ferguson of Ward 12 said staff have heard that approval of the store is “imminent.”
“The alcohol and gaming commission, in my view, is blowing off municipalities on this whole cannabis store issue,” said Ferguson in Wednesday’s council meeting.
“They put on this façade that they want public input. They’re not listening to it.”
The mayor will ask the Ministry of the Attorney General to deny the application.
CBC News has reached out to the ministry and the AGCO for comment.
The AGCO said the registrar takes into account comments received in the 15-day public notice process that deal with public health and safety, protecting youth and restricting their access, and preventing illicit activities related to cannabis.
The city has already filed an official objection to the AGCO opposing the application because of its location in a residential area and concern for kids walking by the store.
The store would be on a small commercial property that has apartments on top. The city also noted concern about increased traffic, a “parking lot that is problematic for drivers and walkers,” and for residents who have lived in the area since the homes were first built.
Provincial government regulations say a shop can’t be within 150 metres of a school.
Ferguson said a building permit has already been issued with approval of a cannabis store. This would be the third cannabis retail store in Ancaster, he said.
“I don’t know what else we can do. It’s a stupid location in a residential area,” he said, adding that there were also bus stops for each school board nearby.
Jason Farr, Ward 2, floated the idea of using this motion for future objections to the minister. He’s concerned that the province is headed in a direction, he said, where it will “green light” every application that comes forward.
Coun. Chad Collins, Ward 5, agreed, saying the province hands out licences like “Halloween candy.”