The former Royal Canadian Legion site at 31st Avenue downtown could become a cannabis retail shop. Council approved an application for such a business, one of four so far in the downtown core, and 10 overall. Council has agreed to cap downtown cannabis retail applications at six for one year. Two more downtown applications will be coming before council. (Morning Star - file photo)

Okanagan city caps downtown cannabis retail applications

Four currently approved, two more coming, moratorium in place, reviewed after 12 months

Vernon council has set a limit of how many cannabis retail stores it will allow in its downtown core.

Coun. Akbal Mund put forward a notice of motion to limit the number of stores in the downtown business improvement area (BIA) to six, and a moratorium will be placed on downtown applications which will last 12 months and undergo a review.

The motion was passed by a margin of 5-1 with Coun. Dalvir Nahal in opposition, and Coun. Kelly Fehr absent from the regular meeting of council.

“If we don’t put a limit on it, this could get out of control very quickly,” said Mund. “I’m not against pot shops, not at all. So far, the applications are right across the town, and I’m not against a total limit, but I am against having 20 pot shops downtown which could easily happen. Let’s not sit around and wait and do something now.”

Council has approved 10 such applications since March, including one at its regular meeting on Tuesday at the former Royal Canadian Legion site on 31st Avenue bringing the number of applications for downtown to four, and staff told council there are two more applications coming before them for the downtown core which would make six.

Five applications have been made for Vernon’s north end and one is for a property heading out to Okanagan Landing on 25th Avenue.

All applications have been supported by council and have been sent to the province for consideration.

Nahal voted against the motion, saying people have already spent a great deal of money on their applications.

“You can’t restrict without knowing how many have applied,” she said. “We screwed up, we should have done this beforehand. We didn’t and it’s just not fair to start restricting now.”

READ ALSO: Enderby gives green light to pot shop

Administrator Will Pearce chipped in saying council made no such mistake.

“If out of the gates you had said 10 (applications), you would have had a mad rush to province for the first 10, then you would have got the first 10 in the first week. Then what do you do because you don’t know the locations of those first 10?” said Pearce.

RELATED: Armstrong seeks public input on cannabis retail shops

“What you said was, when you set up the process, you said we as council have complete authority on cannabis retail shops approval in this municipality, period. Entrepreneurs then take the risk because it’s a lengthy process to get through the province first, then council, and they can’t predict what council says, then it goes back to the province and we don’t know what the province will say.

“You did not make a mistake.”

Mayor Victor Cumming said Mund’s motion is a good one.

“We’ve heard very clearly from the community, don’t load up the downtown with pot shops,” he said. “It’s a good motion to cap it for the community and hold it for a time period, then review it in 12 months.”



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two-vehicle collision causes rollover at Burtch Road and Highway 97

Harvey is down to single lane traffic headed downtown

Lake Country event gets people to celebrate failure

Event on Feb. 29 will give people opportunity to discuss failures, enjoy live music and create artwork

Dates revealed for 2020 Kelowna Pride celebrations

Kelowna’s Pride Week will run from June 6 to 14

Kelowna accepting applications for Artist in Residence program

Artists from all disciplines are welcome to apply

Central Okanagan receives less funding per student than B.C. average

In 2019, Central Okanagan received almost $400 less in funding per student

UPDATE: Protesters say they will maintain blockade near Chase “as long as it takes”

Signs at protest site say in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Deaths on popular Shuswap trail ruled accidental

B.C. Coroners Service reports on fatal falls in May and July 2019

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Federal minister to speak in North Okanagan

Greater Vernon Chamber welcomes middle class prosperity minister to talk money

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

EDITORIAL: Thoughtless posts to Facebook cause real harm and stress

At the risk of resembling a broken record, it needs to be… Continue reading

Most Read