Peter de Verteuil

Peter de Verteuil

Duncan opts for temporary use permits for pot shops

Three year trial project will gauge community impacts

Now that the federal and provincial laws have changed regarding cannabis, local governments have the daunting task of figuring out how to regulate its sale within their own communities.

To get the ball rolling, the City of Duncan’s planning manager Danica Rice presented a recommendation to new mayor Michelle Staples and her council during their Nov. 19 meeting.

“Staff recently hosted the surrounding jurisdictions of North Cowichan, CVRD, Cowichan Tribes, Malahat Nation, and the Town of Ladysmith to provide an opportunity for a round table discussion on cannabis retail use and possible options for moving forward with the new legislation,” Rice told council. “It was determined that each jurisdiction has differing opportunities and challenges for addressing retail sales; however, a Temporary Use Permit approach appears to be preferred.”

What that means, Rice later explained, is that the local governments didn’t want to be locked in for the foreseeable future to a system that may not work well and that treating the changes like a pilot program was a reasonable way to move forward.

“The Temporary Use Permit kind of gives us that ability,” Rice explained. “So we don’t have to fully commit to a rezoning process at this stage, it allows us to have a three-year permit and then to potentially renew or not or change the rules or decide what we want to do in three years.”

Though firm bylaws have not been set, council did agree on Nov. 19 to issue a request for proposals for Temporary Use Permit applications. Would-be merchants have between Jan. 1, 2019 and Feb. 1, 2019 to submit their paperwork. (See the City website for more information.)

One thing retailers must note is that council has also established a list of guiding principles that shops featuring retail sales of cannabis and its related products must adhere to. It’s a list Duncan CAO Peter de Verteuil said is relatively standard among local governments.

Those types of business must not sit within: 400 metres of any other location where the retail sale of cannabis and cannabis related products has been authorized by the City or an adjacent jurisdiction; 300 metres of any school; 300 metres of any group daycare; 150 metres of Centennial Park, McAdam Park, Rotary Park, Charles Hoey Park, any adjacent municipal or regional park; and 50 metres of any land zoned LDR (Low Density Residential) zones.

“Those are guiding principals,” reminded de Verteuil. “It’s not that it’s a set zoning restriction so when the time comes and the feedback comes in from the community saying that we’re off base one way or the other, around the distances that feedback can be taken into account.”

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