Another application for a policy-breaking pot shop has been passed Kelowna city council.
But not without a fight.
On April 20, council heard city staff’s report recommending non-support of the application for a new cannabis store at the Capri Centre Mall — within 500 metres of two other approved shops. Currently, city policy is to limit stores within 500 metres of each other to avoid clustering.
“I know I’m probably the most unpredictable, but I want to look at this application by application,” said Coun. Gail Given. “I actually think a mall is the right location for a cannabis store.”
Though not all councillors felt the same way.
“We need to let the policy unfold, let the stores open, and if everything goes smoothly take another look at our policy,” said Coun. Luke Stack.
A motion was tabled on city staff’s recommendation, resulting in a 4-4 tie vote from council.
An alternate motion was tabled for support of the shop after Given called on her fellow councillors to give the public a chance at input by sending the matter to a public hearing.
That motion was passed in a 7-1 vote, with Coun. Ryan Donn the only one in opposition.
This is the fourth application to come before council breaching the 500-metre policy set out by the city. The issue has proven divisive among councillors.
The first time a similar issue went to council was in October 2019, when a shop on Bernard Avenue was approved despite being within the allowable limit of another shop. Two applications have come forward since then in both February and March. Each was defeated.
In the past, councillors have expressed their interest to see how the local market looks when all of the 18 already-approved shops open before approving another one.
The application will go to council once more for a rezoning bylaw prior to going to a public hearing.