The details around zoning bylaws for pot shops in Regina have been finalized, with city council set for a final vote on them next month.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere told the CJME Morning Show Tuesday council made good progress on the marijuana zoning bylaws at Monday night’s meeting.
City council decided to remove the discretionary use provision for marijuana dispensaries looking to open in the downtown area and the warehouse district.
“We had initially put in discretionary use which would be a longer process for approval – you know, about four months – and that would make a competitive disadvantage for businesses downtown so we decided to get rid of that,” Fougere explained, noting the warehouse district will also be wide open for permitted use.
Pot shops opening in the downtown area will also be exempt from the buffer zone around schools and daycares, although there will be restrictions for the space between stores. Council initially had to tweak the bylaw again to make sure daycares couldn’t open within the buffer zone of a dispensary once it is already open and running.
“Now, assuming no other changes will be made – we’ll pass the bylaw next month at council and then we’re finished,” Fougere said.
He noted the police still have to make final decisions about things like training and roadside tests for drug-impaired driving, but the city’s part is almost done.
Food truck permit fees won’t be rolled back
Council also had a debate about the permit fee increase for food trucks operating in the city.
Several food truck operators had complained about the $300 fee hike introduced at the end of last summer.
Fougere said council came up with three options including a consideration of rolling back the fee to previous levels, but ultimately approved staying with the status quo for now then reviewing it again in the fall.
“We decided that, you know, we’ll leave them the way they are. There’s six licenses now, more than there were initially, in fact we just have another one in the process of being approved of the six,” the mayor said.
The final fee of $1,800 is slightly lower than food truck permits for Saskatoon. Regina’s food truck fees also cover electrical service, something not included in the fees paid by food truck operators in Saskatoon.
Permanent change to winter garbage collection
Winter garbage collection will permanently change to every two weeks, with the exception of the weeks between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Residents will also have the option of paying for a second garbage bin on their utility bill if they choose.
Fougere said the decision was made based on public consultation following the trial period this past winter.
“It shows that basically if you’re throwing a lot away then you’re going to have to pay for it.”
He said the hope is the change will provide more motivation for people to recycle.