The Okanagan Skaha School District is asking Summerland to revisit its policy on the location of cannabis shops in the community. (File photo)

The Okanagan Skaha School District is asking Summerland to revisit its policy on the location of cannabis shops in the community. (File photo)

School board asks Summerland to amend cannabis store policy

Community’s 50-metre buffer from schools and parks is too small, Okanagan Skaha School Board says

The Okanagan Skaha School Board is raising concerns about Summerland’s policy on retail cannabis shops.

At the Summerland council meeting on Oct. 13, council received a letter from the school board, requesting council review its policy.

“The general guideline of distance from schools, community and youth centres, libraries, parks and playgrounds of 50 metres is not adequate, and the board is concerned that these retail outlets may place students at risks,” the letter states.

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The municipality’s policy allows for cannabis shops in the downtown area and at Summerfair Shopping Centre.

There is no limit on the number of license applications, nor on how close one store may be from another. This is also a concern for the school board.

“The number of cannabis retail outlets in Summerland is concerning considering the population of the community and the locations of the outlets are all within close proximity to schools,” the school board’s letter states.

This is not the first time the school board has raised concerns about the location of cannabis shops in Summerland.

In early February, when a shop was proposed for Sungate Plaza, the school district stated the 50-metre distance was too close.

The school board raised similar concerns about an application presented in the summer of 2019.

In addition, some in the community have earlier asked for tighter regulations on the location of cannabis stores.

Elsewhere in the Okanagan, regulations governing the locations of cannabis stores are stricter than in Summerland.

In 2019, Penticton council approved a policy allowing up to 14 cannabis stores in the city, with seven in the downtown and seven outside the downtown area.

Vernon’s city council has a limit of no more than six cannabis retail stores in its downtown business improvement area.

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