A BC Cannabis Store in Port Alberni. (File)

Kelowna council denies proposed provincial pot shop

The shop was proposed within 500 metres of an already approved location

A provincial pot shop proposed just 110 metres away from another cannabis store was turned down by Kelowna city council, after city staff recommended the application be denied.

Council voted 5-4 to nix the shop proposed at the Willow Park mall in Rutland, with councillors Gail Given, Loyal Wooldridge, Charlie Hodge and Mayor Colin Basran in favour of the government-run BC Cannabis Store.

Staff made their recommendation based on the city’s policy of having a 500-metre buffer between stores that sell legal cannabis but that policy has proven difficult for some on city council, who’d rather take it on a case-by-case basis.

Last time a proposal of this sort came to council, things went the other way.

A shop on Bernard Avenue was approved despite being within the allowable limit of another shop in October 2019.

This time, some switched sides on the issue.

Councillors Luke Stack and Brad Sieben, while voting in favour of the shop on Bernard in October, voted against the Hollywood Road proposal. Basran also switched sides, from non-support last time, to support the more recent proposal, saying context is key.

“I didn’t want to see our downtown street grid with a cannabis store on every block,” he said of the approved Bernard shop. “What I find different in this application is we’re dealing with two strip malls separated by some distance and a highway.

“In this particular contextual setting, I believe that having a store across the highway is not a big deal.”

Council also expressed that it would like to have a provincially-run BC Cannabis store in town.

“A major town centre like Rutland deserves to have a government store,” said coun. Gail Given.

Of the 20 approved shops in Kelowna, only two have received a licence to sell from the government.

READ MORE: Kelowna mayor to request RCMP’s ‘unfounded’ sexual assault report

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@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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