Another pot shop has been nixed by Kelowna city council.
On March 9, council denied an application for a new cannabis store that would have been 12 metres shy of the 500-metre minimum distance allowed between stores.
The issue has proven divisive among councillors, who have sent mixed signals to business owners about how much distance must separate stores when dealing with previous applications.
This time around, council showed a more unified front in following the policy — though the vote was not unanimous.
Coun. Charlie Hodge and Mayor Colin Basran both found themselves, yet again, on the defeated side of the vote.
“We’re talking 12 metres; we’re talking one’s on a highway and one’s not on a highway,” said Hodge. “I think our bylaw is flawed … There are no other retail outlets that we penalize on this basis.
“The federal government says it’s legal; I think we should be treating it as such.”
The rest of council stood behind the bylaw, agreeing that with the current stock of just two operational stores out of the 20 that have been approved, it’s hard to gauge how Kelowna’s cannabis market will be served once all of the stores open.
“Staff have a measurement and that’s the measurement we have to go by,” said Coun. Maxine DeHart.
The policy, meant to avoid clustering stores in the same area, has come up in two previous applications.
In October 2019, a shop on Bernard Avenue was approved despite being within the allowable limit of another shop. This was the first time council had to make a decision surrounding the policy.
Last month another store came before council, proposed for the Willow Park Shopping Centre in Rutland just 110 metres away from an already up and running shop. That one was denied by council.
There are another four applications that are still set to come before council.