North Cowichan drops distance criteria for pot shops.(File photo)

North Cowichan drops distance rules in pot shop criteria

Distance guidelines for cannabis shops removed from policy

Distance requirements will no longer be considered by North Cowichan for applications for retail marijuana outlets in the municipality.

Council made the decision at its meeting on July 17 after concluding that the criteria around distances proved to be more difficult to deal with than originally anticipated once council began accepting applications for the shops earlier this year.

“We found in our discussions that our policy guidelines (for retail marijuana outlets) that were recommended to us by Island Health might work for larger centres, but they don’t work for us in such places like Crofton and Chemainus,” Mayor Al Siebring said at the meeting.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN CONSIDERS CHANGES TO POT SHOP CRITERIA

At a meeting of the committee of the whole on July 8, it was recommended to council that the criteria council established in January that pot shops must be located at least 300 metres from each other and a minimum of 600 metres from schools, playgrounds and places where children and youth gather be dropped.

Council was finding that, in practice, vast areas in the communities in the municipality were being excluded from opening pot shops under the distance guidelines.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN REJECTS CHEMAINUS POT STORE APPLICATION

The new guidelines state that council will now only consider the impact of retail cannabis sales in proximity to schools, playgrounds, libraries, public recreation centres, parks, places of worship, family-oriented facilities, or areas where children and youth frequent when applications for the stores are received.

As well, the requirements that cannabis stores in North Cowichan must be located on a major road and on land already zoned for commercial uses is staying in place.

In related news, council also decided at its meeting on July 17 that the public hearing for the application from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch to open a retail pot store in Cowichan Commons be postponed.

Council gave the first two readings to a resubmitted application from Costa Canna, a partnership led by the Cowichan Tribes, at the meeting to open a cannabis store in the same shopping mall.

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

Costa Canna must now host a public information meeting for the neighbours of the site and submit its finding to council before the application goes to a public hearing.

To ensure fairness in the process, council is planning to hold the public hearing for both applications at the same time, so the public hearing for the LDB will be postponed until the application from Costa Canna reaches the public hearing stage.

Siebring said the decision reflects the motion made by council in May that both applications should be considered together.

“Costa Canna’s application has gotten tied up with provincial regulatory paperwork,” he said

“But we’re not going to consider one without the other. We want to see both side by side.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fire damages Vancouver Island medical marijuana facility

Fire broke out at an industrial facility at the corner of Drinkwater… Continue reading

Memorable weekend of family fun at Lake Cowichan celebrates 75th anniversary

From parading a birthday cake through town to the return of timbersports, the big event was great

One dead after work-place accident

Incident under investigation

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Editorial: Questionable decision

Mayor effectively invited intimidating public display by having people show what side they were on

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Retired Vancouver Island teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Patrick Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Most Read