Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • February-March 2024 • Circulation 5000

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A Dangerous Precedent?

Changes may allow liquor stores to be adjacent to community and school parks

Arden’s Varimart at 11361 95 Street. The business is trying to open a liquor store across the street from a park. Paula E. Kirman

Liquor stores are not currently allowed to operate within 100 meters of community or recreation activity spaces, public parks, or schools. However, a decision on March 7 by the Subdivision and Developmental Appeal Board (SDAB) may change that.

On that date, the Alberta Avenue Community League attended a SDAB meeting to oppose Arden’s Varimart’s attempt to open a liquor store within their current convenience store. Arden’s Varimart (11361 95 Street) is currently located across the street from a public park frequently used by families within the neighbourhood and which also currently serves the needs of children attending Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre. However, SDAB ruled that Arden’s should be granted permission to open and operate a liquor store on that site.

The McCauley Community League has strongly opposed this decision due to its city-wide implications. “Once this change has been made, this will potentially allow developers to open liquor stores within 100 metres of community or recreation spaces, public parks, and schools. This change will affect every community within the City of Edmonton,” the MCL said in a statement issued in mid-March.

“All individuals and families within the City of Edmonton are entitled to park space that is free of alcohol sale establishments,” the MCL continues. “Parks, sites of community activities, and school grounds should not be considered appropriate neighbours for liquor stores.”

As for reasons why alcohol sales and community parks do not mix, the MCL cites “traffic and consumer considerations specific to liquor stores may endanger the safety of individuals and families using community parks, recreation facilities, and schools.”

In addition, the MCL points out that “this ruling is not in keeping with City of Edmonton Bylaw 12800, which clearly states that minor and major alcohol sales should not be permitted within 100 metres of community or recreation activity spaces, public parks, or schools.”

Using social media and other forms of contact, the MCL encouraged residents of McCauley and elsewhere to embark on a letter writing campaign to community leagues, City councillors, Public and Catholic school board representatives, and the Minister of Education.

The goal was to try to have pressure put on the SDAB to reverse its decision prior to it being finalized in writing. As of BMC News’ press time, the SDAB’s decision was scheduled to be put into writing on March 21. We will follow up on this story on our website and social media.

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