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At the Tuesday October 2, 2018, Urban Planning Committee meeting, the following motion was passed:

That Administration prepare zoning bylaw amendments to:

  1. Reduce or eliminate the separation distance for Major and Minor Alcohol Sales in the downtown core, and include information about the implications of creating flexibility in high density residential and employment areas for alcohol sales; and
  2. Draft regulations to improve the design and safety of Major and Minor Alcohol Sales across the municipality.

Online Survey

Help us refine the Liquor Store Opportunity Area boundary by completing the online survey. Survey closes on Friday December 21, 2018.

Project Stage and Overview

Project Stage: Draft AmendmentThis project is currently at the draft amendment stage. 

The draft amendments will be brought forward for consideration at the Tuesday March 5, 2019, Urban Planning Committee meeting. This meeting will provide the Urban Planning Committee with an opportunity to give City staff further guidance before the proposed amendments go to City Council Public Hearing for a final decision.

The report will include draft text amendments for the Zoning Bylaw that would create an opportunity area for liquor stores, centred on the Downtown and Oliver neighbourhoods. The opportunity area will allow for new liquor stores to serve this high density employment, hotel and residential area. The draft text amendments will also include improved design regulations to enhance the safety and appearance of new liquor stores in all areas of Edmonton. 

A target date for the amendments to advance to City Council Public Hearing for a final decision has not yet been set.

Public Engagement

The City of Edmonton is committed to citizen engagement. 

There are two ways to provide your input to City staff on the proposed liquor store opportunity area boundary:

Drop-in Downtown Engage Edmonton Event
Date: November 15, 2018
Time: 3-7pm
Location: Edmonton Tower (Main Lobby), 10111 - 104 Avenue NW

Online Survey
Help refine the Liquor Store Opportunity Area boundary by completing the online survey. Survey closes on Friday December 21, 2018.

A summary of all feedback received will be included in the report back to Council in March 2019.

To register for project updates, please fill out the mailing list sign-up form.

Project Background

In 2007, the City of Edmonton introduced a rule requiring new liquor stores to be at least 500 metres apart from other liquor stores. The separation distance requirement was intended to curb the proliferation of liquor stores along established commercial shopping corridors, such as Jasper Avenue, Whyte Avenue, 107 Avenue, Stony Plain Road, 118 Avenue and 97 Street. 

Following the implementation of the separation distance requirement, concerns were raised  that it restricted liquor retailer competition in large suburban commercial sites designed to serve a sizable population.

As a result, further changes to the rule were passed in 2016 to allow more than one liquor store at major intersections in suburban areas. The 500 metre limit remains in place for commercial streets in mature areas of the city. Liquor stores also have to be 100 metres from parks and schools, including in suburban areas.

The effectiveness of the 500 metre separation distance requirements in limiting the proliferation of new liquor stores in mature areas, or curbing social disorder have not been evaluated since the regulation was brought into effect.

Additionally, there is concern that the separation distance requirements may still be overly restricting competition, giving existing liquor store retailers an unfair market advantage. Associated with this concern is that limited competition may remove the incentive for businesses to operate good business practices.

In consideration of this, Council passed a motion on January 23, 2018, directing administration to explore options for managing the impacts of liquor stores. This work will involve exploring all options for regulating liquor stores differently than current practice, including, but not limited to, amending separation distances.

At the October 2, 2018, Urban Planning Committee meeting, City staff presented CR_5604 - Options for Managing Impacts of Major and Minor Alcohol Sales (Item 6.1). The report identified the impacts associated with liquor stores, an analysis of the effectiveness of the City’s existing liquor store policies, and best practices to manage the impacts.
The report also included options for regulating liquor stores differently than current practice, based on research findings and feedback received through public and stakeholder engagement. 

In response to the presentation and discussion, Council directed City staff to report back with:

  • draft amendments that would provide an opportunity area in the downtown to allow new liquor stores to be located less than 500 metres from existing liquor stores, 
  • draft design regulations to improve the safety and appearance for new liquor stores citywide, and 
  • information related the impact of liquor store concentration in entertainment districts, separation of liquor stores from sensitive uses, Subdivision and Development Appeal Board decisions related to liquor and cannabis stores, and how the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission regulates liquor stores and enforces its policies.

More information about the motion passed by Council can be found in the October 2, 2018, Urban Planning Committee meeting minutes (Item 6.1).

A report is scheduled to be presented back to Urban Planning Committee in March 2019.

For More Information

Katherine Pihooja

Title Planner, Zoning Bylaw



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