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Managing Liquor Store Impacts

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 health, crime and 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 October 2018.

Public Engagement

Liquor Store Separation Distance Survey
How far apart should new liquor stores be from existing liquor stores and parks? The City wants your input on the Zoning Bylaw regulations that control liquor store separation distances. Feedback is encouraged through an online survey that is open until July 23, 2018.

Feedback collected will be compiled with other research and stakeholder input to inform the report to Urban Planning Committee on options for regulating liquor stores.  A What We Heard report summarizing feedback will also be attached to Urban Planning Committee report so members of Council can understand the opinions of Edmontonians

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

Urban Planning Committee
Edmontonians can share their feedback directly with members of Council by registering to speak at Urban Planning Committee when the report goes forward. The report is currently anticipated to go to Urban Planning Committee in October 2018.

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 meter 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.

For More Information

Katherine Pihooja

Title Planner, Zoning Bylaw



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