Councillor’s Corner

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor – 

Winter arrived early this year, Kitchissippi, but we aren’t going to let that slow us down! The season is in full swing and we have lots of news to share, so read on to find out what’s happening as we wrap up 2018. 

With the new term of council beginning early this month, we will be facing lots of new decisions. One of the biggest of them will be whether to opt-out of cannabis retail storefronts. This issue has been a bouncing ball throughout the summer and fall, with the change in provincial government meaning a change in approach from the more cautious method that was poised to give city councillors some significant input into the locations of cannabis stores. 

Under the Conservative provincial government, private vendors will be allowed to operate legal storefronts, and municipalities will have no say in where they go, but they will have the ability to opt-out. I would prefer that the city had more power of the location and regulation of cannabis stores, but unfortunately that’s not an option. Many residents know that Kitchissippi has seen several illegal dispensaries open, and over the last two years I’m comfortable that the shops have not, by and large, created an overwhelming public-interest concern. As such, I don’t support opting out. 

It’s 2018 and you can purchase beer or wine from the Superstore, steps away from Hilson Public School. Cannabis is now a legal product, and forcing residents to cross borders to shop in-person for it is anti-consumer and overly Victorian. I believe that whatever drawbacks we find to private cannabis storefront retail can be reasonably addressed. 

I’m excited to welcome new colleagues to the council table this month, and can’t wait to start to working together to keep making Ottawa awesome. My final pop-up for the year will be on December 10 at Equator Coffee from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The office will close on December 22 and re-open on January 2, with staff energized for a new year. Stay warm, Kitchissippi. 

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