City of Powell River receives first private cannabis store application

Proponent currently owns and operates a liquor store

City of Powell River has received its first application for a private cannabis store.

At the Tuesday, September 17, committee of the whole meeting, councillors reviewed a proposal to establish a cannabis store on Marine Avenue.

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City senior planner Daniella Fergusson said earlier this year the city had an application for a BC Cannabis Store, to be located off Barnet Street behind Powell River Town Centre Hotel, and the application before the committee was the first private cannabis store application under the new legal retail cannabis regime.

Fergusson said the subject property is located at unit B of 4670 Marine Avenue.

“This store is located in an area that meets all of our zoning requirements in terms of separation distance from other cannabis retail stores, as well as schools, playgrounds and the city’s recreation complex,” said Fergusson.

In reviewing the floor plan, Fergusson said cannabis retail stores have a number of requirements from the province about how they need to safely store materials.

“It’s like a liquor store with even more requirements,” said Fergusson. “What the owner is proposing is locked display cases and then a locked storage area behind the counter that is inaccessible to the public.

“The store is in a mixed-use area that permits cannabis. Generally, staff don’t have any concerns about this application at all.”

Fergusson said the applicant runs Duke’s Liquor Store so he’s someone who is experienced in running a retail store in a regulated environment.

“The liquor industry is not too dissimilar to the cannabis industry,” she added.

The provincial liquor and cannabis regulation branch (LCRB) has completed a criminal background check and a financial check, according to Fergusson, so again, staff have no concerns about this application.

Fergusson said if council wishes to proceed with the application, the next steps to proceed include having the applicant post a sign in the proposed retail location and there will be a mail out to properties located within a 60-metre radius. There will be a public hearing to hear feedback, and if council is supportive, there will be a council resolution that staff will send to the LCRB.

“That will be included in the LCRB’s consideration of whether to give the application their final cannabis retail store licence,” said Fergusson. “Once they get their licence, the applicant would come back to city hall and apply for their business licence and open the store.”

Fergusson said the request for councillors was to give notice of a public hearing. The committee carried a motion that staff be directed to give notice of public hearing of council’s intention to consider cannabis retail store 002 for the property on Marine Avenue. The motion carried.

In a report to council, Fergusson stated in the applicant’s letter of intent, they write that they plan to build a unique and classy store that is professionally run. They also plan to use a local designer, contractor, and hire locally, as they have done with Duke’s Liquor Store.

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