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On January 23, 2018, City Council passed the following motion directing City Administration to explore options for managing the impacts of liquor stores:

That Administration explore options for managing impacts of Major and Minor Alcohol Sales, including but not limited to amending separation distances of Major and Minor Alcohol Sales, and report back on these options to Urban Planning Committee. As well, Administration will include:

  • data on the policy’s effectiveness and impacts
  • information regarding the experience and policies of other municipalities
  • best practices
  • comprehensive results of related studies

About the Project

The project will include exploring all options for regulating liquor stores differently than current practice.

This will involve:

  • Identifying the impacts associated with liquor stores, including any that may be related to social disorder
  • Gathering information on best practices, and the experience and policies of other municipalities in managing these impacts
  • Evaluating how neighbourhood-level conditions, such as variations in population density and how people travel, influence the impact that liquor stores have on communities
  • Conducting an assessment of the effectiveness of the City’s existing liquor store policies and regulations, as well as policies outside of the City’s jurisdiction
  • Exploring changes to the separation distances required between liquor stores
  • Consulting with the public and stakeholders, including current liquor store operators in Edmonton

Project Stage

Project Stage: Information Gathering

This project is currently at the information gathering stage.

Following the information gathering stage, a report will be drafted for Urban Planning Committee that identifies the impacts associated with liquor stores, best practices to manage impacts, and the effectiveness of the City’s existing liquor store policies.

The report will also include options for regulating liquor stores differently than current practice based on the research findings and feedback received through public and stakeholder engagement.  This report is targeted to go to Urban Planning Committee in August 2018.

Project Background

In 2007, changes were made to the Zoning Bylaw requiring new liquor stores to be at least 500 metres from an existing liquor store. The separation distance requirement was introduced to help 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 was significantly restricting liquor retailer competition in large suburban commercial sites designed to serve a sizable population.  As a result, further Zoning Bylaw changes were introduced in 2016 to allow limited opportunity for additional liquor stores on and around large suburban commercial sites, while maintaining 500 metres between new liquor stores in mature neighbourhoods.  

Although the separation distance requirements have been effective in limiting the proliferation of new liquor stores in mature areas, their effectiveness in curbing social disorder impacts have not been evaluated.  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 better 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

Public Engagement

The City of Edmonton is committed to public engagement.

Opportunities for public engagement are being planned for May and June, 2018.  

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

For More Information

Katherine Pihooja

Title Planner, Zoning Bylaw
Telephone

780-442-1799

Email katherine.pihooja@edmonton.ca

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