City council amends bylaw again for Iqaluit cannabis store

GN rejected previous zoning amendment saying it did not define what ‘appropriate distance’ should be

Higher Experience Inc. manager Kevin Ikeno speaks at a public hearing on Aug. 9 about a new cannabis store that would be located next to Northmart. (Photo by David Venn)

By Meral Jamal

Iqaluit city council took a second swing Tuesday at amending a bylaw to allow a cannabis store to open in the area near Northmart.

The first amendment it approved, back in August, would have allowed a new cannabis store run by Higher Experience Inc. to occupy half the ground floor of Building 760 — which is about 100 metres from the Lower Base playground and 150 metres from Nakasuk Elementary School playground.

However, the amendment was rejected under review by Nunavut’s Community and Government Services Department.

It said the amendment failed to define what is an “appropriate distance” to separate the cannabis store from conflicting land uses, such as recreation and institutional use.

On Tuesday night, city council passed a revised amendment, this time spelling out what it felt are appropriate separations.

“Tonight, a revised version of the bylaw is being brought forward. This is just a revision for clarification purposes and builds the rationale behind council’s decision into the amendment,” said Kadence Bunke, a contract consultant with the city.

The revised amendment states cannabis establishments can be no closer than 95 metres from a playground and 150 metres from a school.

Bunke said the appropriate distance as noted in the amendment will not necessarily apply to other cannabis stores that may open in the future.

“If another cannabis establishment application comes forward, there would be distances that apply to it specifically,” Bunke said.

“[The city’s] existing general plan that has been approved by CGS allows us the flexibility … to make determinations as it comes to each applicant,” said Coun. Kyle Sheppard.

Councillors Kimberly Smith, Paul Quassa, Ookalik Curley and Romeyn Stevenson voted in favour of the revised bylaw.

Coun. Simon Nattaq opposed the change and said he does not support the opening of the new cannabis store in Building 760 due to drug addiction in the city.

The revised zoning bylaw will now go to CGS for ministerial review again.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by John K on

    That was fast! Let’s go.

    I doubt anyone is surprised that Simon “I have nothing against them, but” Nattaq is opposed.

  2. Posted by Random on

    Hopefully some random mayor at city hall will be pleased with the outcome

  3. Posted by Maq-Pat on

    I’m SOOOOO glad the bylaw now specifies the minimum distance this FIXED LOCATION has to be from the school and playground. We’re now really ready for when a massive earthquake rearranges the downtown.

    8 week delay, and ton of wasted staff and political time, just so the GN could flex on the city. Gross is right.

    • Posted by Department of Lack of Planning and Lands on

      I don’t think this was a CGS flex on the city, I think this was CGS saying, “you guys have to plan better, you can’t just leave your bylaws subjective. Please make a determination on what you, as a city, want to enforce when it comes to planning and approvals for these types of establishments”.
      And then the city came back and said, “ok, we’re putting these exact numbers that this place wants to be away from schools and playgrounds, but we’re just going to amend it in the future to do whatever we want if another one comes up”. Which… really shows how Iqaluit has been planned and developed in the past, as well.

      • Posted by UpHere on

        The city has no planning staff anymore. All but 1 position is vacant and council are getting terrible advice. The last 2 directors lasted less than a year each and the one before was hardly here. This is a scandal because nothing is getting done. Time for CGS to take over with professionals. The city can’t get or retain the right people to make this city work.
        Applications are taking months to be looked at because there is no one in the office. This is like how the city didn’t have a proper water manager. Fix the housing and benefits for staff and get professional up here, or let CGS take over.

      • Posted by Maq-Pat on

        This was ALWAYS a site-specific bylaw amendment. There is nothing subjective about where this site is…

    • Posted by John K on

      I actually am glad that the by-law has been clarified.

      I share your frustration but I’m not going to see our municipal government actually do municipal government things and get too bent out of shape over it.

  4. Posted by G-man Choi on

    Yesssss so glad the weed store is only 150 meters from the school, now everyone can stagger over and get some weed and maybe sell it to the kids when they come out of the school, or even better the kids can walk over to the weed store and wait outside on their lunch break for someone to bring them out some ffs.

    Anyone who would agree with this bylaw would not have kids, no “normal” parent would want a weed store next to the school.

    • Posted by John K on

      Be afraid! Be very afraid!

      Are you scared yet? Watch out for boogeymen! OOOoooOOOOoooo!!

      • Posted by Mister Fusion on

        its not like the new weed store will be selling Radio Active and Explosive in town, Right ? theres bo such things as: Nitroglycerin Buds and Uranium Enrich Weed.

    • Posted by Johh Do on

      weird but why worry about a store selling weed in a town where weed is everywhere allready since 1960 ? and 99% of the People in town are hook on it. i see it, i smell it everywhere too when i walk in town, from smoke coming from people walking by or from cars/trucks windows driving by and appartment windows too.note, i dont smoke it.dont think its a big deal,it wont negatively affect town,people or affect the bad kids who trow stone at cars and set them on fire.

  5. Posted by Blue Check on

    I know some of us have been confused on this issue. The mayor cleared things up on Twitter yesterday. He posted “Incomplete? Lol The transient folks at the GN wanted a colonial “quantitative definition of acceptable distance””

  6. Posted by Headaches on

    The position of mayor is a colonial way of governance. This guy makes my head hurt

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