St. Paul town council recently amended the towns land use bylaws, sparking considerable discussion and reflection within the community.
One amendment stood out to the council, intensifying conversation as it extends the setback for liquor and cannabis stores from 100 meters to 200 meters.
The deliberation was initiated a year ago when a discussion arose regarding the potential establishment of the Lakeland Recover Centre. At that time the council conversed with the government, seeking support for the much-needed facility. However, this deliberation led to a contrast as a liquor store application meeting the previous 100-meter setback guidelines was subsequently submitted for approval.
St. Paul Mayor Maureen Miller acknowledged that it’s a challenging balance.
“On one hand, we are advocating for critical support such as the Lakeland Recover Center, and on the other hand, we face new liquor store applications that meet existing guidelines. This forces us to ask ourselves if this is the type of community development we want,” said Miller.
The decision to extend the setback for liquor and cannabis stores to 200 meters was not taken lightly. The council struggled with the potential impact on future development and the overall character of the community. Concerns were raised around the increase of liquor and cannabis establishments near a mental health facility, considering the challenges the community faces with alcohol and drug addiction.
“It is a courageous decision, and I acknowledge the council for taking this stand,” expressed Miller.
“Limiting development in this manner is not a common stance for municipalities. However, it’s about looking at the bigger picture and ensuring the long-term well-being of our community.”
Acknowledging the uncommon nature of the decision, council emphasized the importance of considering the broader implications for the community’s well-being. As the council looks at St. Paul’s future, these amendments reflect a commitment to responsible and thoughtful urban planning that prioritizes the health and vitality of the town.