Windsor Councillor to Raise Questions About Cannabis Retail Store at Next Council Meeting

Article by CBC News

Windsor Windsor councillor to raise questions about cannabis retail store at next council meeting Social Sharing 'This is a big deal for downtown,' says Bortolin CBC News Ward 3 Coun. Rino Bortolin says he spent some of the weekend fielding phone calls from residents concerned about the city's recent report on the 545 Ouellette Ave. location proposed as the city's first cannabis retail store. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Windsor Ward 3 Coun. Rino Bortolin says he plans on raising concerns over a recent report opposing the proposed 545 Ouellette Ave. location for the city’s first cannabis retail store.

On Monday, Bortolin said he was surprised by the comments made in the report, as well as the position taken by city administrators.

“I didn’t realize that this letter was coming,” said Bortolin. “I figured that if the letter was coming out, that we would have gotten a heads up well before this.”

The report, filed to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) last Friday, included additional documents outlining concerns about the proposed location from both Windsor Police Service and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU).

Key concerns include the location’s proximity to Immaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School, which is roughly 160 metres away, as well as the location’s proximity to the Transition Stability Centre, which is roughly 260 metres away.

Windsor police expressed concerns about an alley near the proposed store, as well as other public safety challenges.

According to Bortolin, the report seemed “incongruent” with a motion passed by council in January 2019, which established criteria governing administration’s ability to provide comments on potential retail store locations to the AGCO — criteria Bortolin said the health unit ignored.

The documents included in the City’s report to the AGCO, WECHU recommended that no cannabis retail store operate within 500 metres of buildings like schools, libraries, parks, as well as addiction and mental health facilities, hospitals and alcohol, tobacco or cannabis-related businesses.

As per the AGCO and the City of Windsor, cannabis retail stores aren’t allowed to operate within 150 metres of schools and certain sensitive sites.

“The health unit obviously has their agenda, which they have every right and position to take, but their position is that they don’t want cannabis sold, smoked or anything,” said Bortolin.

“You do not skip over our criteria and use the health unit’s criteria. So that’s where my concern is and that’s where a lot of my questions will be directed at the next council meeting.”

Bortolin said he spent some of the weekend fielding phone calls from residents concerned about the city’s opposition to the proposed site.

Windsor Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante said he received emails from frustrated residents “thinking that it was council’s decision to deny this location.”

Instead, Costante pointed out that opposition comes from city administration — not city councillors.

Read the full article here.

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