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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

Project Stage

Project Stage: Proposed OptionsThis project is currently at the proposed options stage. 

A report on options to manage the impacts of liquor stores will be presented to Urban Planning Committee on October 2, 2018 (Items 6.1 and 6.2). The report identifies 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 includes options for regulating liquor stores differently than current practice, based on research findings and feedback received through public and stakeholder engagement.

Project Overview

In exploring options to manage the impacts associated with liquor stores differently than current practice, City staff conducted research and engaged with the public and stakeholders to:

  • Identify the impacts associated with liquor stores, including any that may be related to health, crime and social disorder
  • Gather information on best practices, and the experience and policies of other municipalities in managing these impacts
  • Evaluate how neighbourhood-level conditions, such as variations in population density and how people travel, influence the impact that liquor stores have on communities
  • Conduct 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
  • Explore changes to the separation distances required between liquor stores

Public Engagement

The City of Edmonton is committed to citizen engagement. 

As part of our research for this project, City staff conducted the following engagement activities:

  • In person discussions with community stakeholders
  • Phone discussions with community service providers
  • Industry and Community Workshop to identify best practices to manage impacts associated with liquor stores
  • Online Survey on Zoning options to amend the separation distances for liquor stores:
    • Insight Community Survey - over 2,300 responses received
    • Open link survey - over 400 responses received

More information on the public engagement activities is outlined in Attachment 5 of the report (Items 6.1 and 6.2).

Mailing List
To register for project updates, 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 scheduled to be presented at the October 2, 2018 (Items 6.1 and 6.2), Urban Planning Committee meeting.

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.

For More Information

Katherine Pihooja

Title Planner, Zoning Bylaw
Telephone

780-442-1799

Email katherine.pihooja@edmonton.ca

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