An interior shot of the marijuana retail shop the Liquor Distribution Branch is proposing to open in Cowichan Commons. (Submitted photo)

Government pot store for Cowichan Commons headed to public hearing

North Cowichan to hold public hearing on Cowichan Commons site

Cowichan Commons is one step closer to having at least one retail pot shop.

An application to open a 2,000 square-foot government-operated retail cannabis store at the shopping centre received its second reading by North Cowichan’s council on June 19.

Council gave second reading after the Liquor Distribution Branch, which made the application, held an information meeting, as instructed by council, on June 17 to provide residents and property owners within a 60-metre radius of its proposed site with information on the application and an opportunity to answer any questions.

RELATED STORY: GOVERNMENT-OPERATED POT SHOP PROPOSAL FOR NORTH COWICHAN WON’T BE RUSHED

Just one resident attended the meeting, and he was in favour of the application proceeding.

Mayor Al Siebring said LDB had fulfilled the requirement to hold a public meeting.

“There’s not a lot of residences within 60 metres of the proposed site, and it appears that the businesses around the site are not excited about it,” he said.

Staff were instructed to schedule a public hearing, which is mandatory and will be hosted by the municipality, on the application before council considers giving a third reading to the application.

Earlier this month, an application from Costa Canna, a partnership headed by Cowichan Tribes, to also open a retail marijuana store in Cowichan Commons, was denied by North Cowichan’s council.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN CONSIDERS TWO APPLICATIONS FOR POT SHOPS IN SHOPPING CENTRE

As well as other issues regarding council’s criteria of where retail marijuana outlets can be operated, Costa Canna’s application was denied because the store would be located at the terminal of a major pedestrian trail system and it would be situated in a site where security would be a concern.

However, after officials from Costa Canna said they had arranged to move the site to another nearby location, council suggested that Costa Canna resubmit the application to council again after consulting with the province’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch about its proposed new location, as it is required to do.

At a council meeting earlier this month, concerns were expressed by council about its newly created retail cannabis policy, and council decided to review and discuss it at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting.

It’s been eight months since the recreational use of marijuana became legal in Canada, but there are still no retail pot shops in the Cowichan Valley.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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