Article by Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
Both the City of Hamilton and Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board opposed the application for a retail cannabis store at 236 Governor’s Rd. in submissions to Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission during a two-week public comment period.
A total of 10 submissions were received by the May 16 deadline and AGCO spokesperson Ray Kahnert said members of the public expressed concerns about the proposed store’s proximity to residential areas, existing convenience stores, and two local cannabis stores already operating at University Plaza and on Cootes Drive.
“Under the requirements of the Cannabis Licence Act … cannabis retail stores in Ontario can be located anywhere that other retail operations are permitted,” Kahnert said.
He said the province does require a minimum buffer of 150 metres between cannabis stores and schools. Although there are at least three schools near the Spring Creek Plaza location, they are all outside the minimum distance requirement.
Kahnert said there are no minimum distance requirements from daycares, parks, or recreation centres.
City of Hamilton spokesperson Michelle Shantz said the municipality “strongly objected” to the proposed location.
Shantz said there are “locations of concern operating approximately within 300 metres of the proposed location which are contrary to public interest.”
She noted Dundas Daycare at 252 Governor’s Rd. (185 metres); Dundas Valley Montessori School at 14 Kemp Dr. (285 metres); Warren Park (320 metres) and Dundas Community Pool at 38 Market St. (700 metres).
The owner of Dundas Day Care stated in March she was not opposed to the cannabis store application.
In a letter to the AGCO, Hamilton Wentworth District Catholic School Board chair Patrick Daly stated the proposed location is very close, within approximately 450 metres, to St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School, which has about 290 students attending junior kindergarten to Grade 8.
“We are all well aware of the serious long-term health and social risks associated with youth and cannabis use. The students that attend this school would be much further exposed to these risks. Like their parents, we are as well concerned that the store would attract many individuals from outside of the neighbourhood and expose students/children to other safety concerns and illegal activities.”
Daly suggests the proposed location would increase the number of discipline matters and put at risk the short- and long-term well-being of students.