City of Powell River’s committee of the whole heard an application for a new cannabis retail store that plans to operate as a social enterprise.
At the February 18 committee of the whole meeting, when the matter of the cannabis retail store was introduced, mayor Dave Formosa declared a conflict. He said he was partnering in a social enterprise with Powell River Brain Injury Society.
“If all goes well, they will have a business to help fund themselves,” he said.
City senior planner Daniella Fergusson, in reviewing the application at the meeting, said the applicant is seeking a council resolution supporting the application as part of the liquor and cannabis regulation branch application for a non-medical cannabis retail store licence at 7010 Duncan Street.
Fergusson said this is the fourth cannabis retail store application before them.
The subject property is located at Duncan Street and Joyce Avenue, adjacent to Capone’s Cellar.
“The partnership is being put forward in a partnership by the Powell River Brain Injury Society and Davic Powell Lake Marina,” said Fergusson. “It’s an exciting project. It’s a social enterprise format which will provide sustainable funding for the brain injury society.”
Fergusson said staff has reviewed the zoning and bylaw requirements and this application meets those requirements in terms of separation distance. It is more than 700 metres away from the nearest cannabis retail store and just over 150 metres away from the nearest playground.
Fergusson said the province has a lot of requirements about security, so this application, just like every other application, has a private area where members of the public are not allowed. The customer area has education materials and areas to view products, she said.
Products are stored in a secured area and no consumption is allowed onsite. There would be opaque coverings on the doors and windows as stipulated by the province.
Fergusson said the front door would be on the parking lot side of the building and the property was zoned C1 so a cannabis store is an allowed use in that location. She added that the city has received a fit-and-proper check from the province, which includes a security screening and financial integrity check with the intent to keep organized crime out of the legal cannabis industry.
According to a report from Fergusson, the applicant is a partnership between Debbie Dee of the brain injury society and David Formosa, both long-standing community members in Powell River. Fergusson’s report said Dee looks forward to profits from the Suncoast Cannabis Shoppe providing a more sustainable source of funding to the brain injury society.
Additionally, the cannabis store is planned to be an equal opportunity employer, offering employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Dee, who was in the audience at the committee meeting, said as a social enterprise, a portion of the profits would accrue to the brain injury society. She added that it would provide employment for several of the clients of the society.
The committee voted that staff be directed to give notice of public hearing of council’s intention to consider the cannabis retail store located at the Duncan Street property.