North Cowichan looks to change its criteria around where pot shops can be located in the municipality to take out distances from each other and children-related locations. (File photo)

North Cowichan considers changes to pot shop criteria

Rules around distance from schools, other cannabis shops, proving problematic

North Cowichan is considering dropping the distance requirements for applications for retail marijuana outlets in the municipality.

At a meeting of the committee of the whole on July 8, it was recommended to council that the criteria council established in January that pot shops must be located at least 300 metres from each other and a minimum of 600 metres from schools, playgrounds and places where children and youth gather be dropped.

The requirements that cannabis stores in North Cowichan must be located on a major road and be located on land already zoned for commercial uses would stay in place.

Mayor Al Siebring said the criteria around distances proved to be more difficult to deal with than originally anticipated once council began accepting applications earlier this year.

He said one of the first applications considered, from Leaf Compassion in Chemainus, was a “real sticking point” for council when the criteria around distances was applied.

North Cowichan turned down Leaf Compassion’s application in May mainly due to it being too close to schools and playgrounds, as stipulated by the criteria.

“But when you consider Chemainus, there’s almost no place in the community for a marijuana retail shop to set up if we follow the rules around distance we currently have in the criteria,” Siebring said.

“If the recommendation passes council, we will consider each application for retail marijuana shops on a case-by-case basis with no criteria for distances,” he said.

Siebring said the distance requirements North Cowichan had established as part of the criteria for setting up pot shops came at the suggestion of Island Health.

“We’re finding it frustrating that some parts of the provincial government want us to restrict the shops, while others are saying to open them up,” he said. It’s expected council will consider the recommendation at its next meeting on July 17.

In related news, North Cowichan also wants to ensure that the two applicants to establish retail marijuana outlets in Cowichan Commons are treated fairly and equally.

The committee of the whole recommended at the July 8 meeting that plans for a public hearing for the rezoning application from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch for a pot shop in the shopping centre be postponed.

The LDB has already received two readings on its application and the next step in the process is for the municipality to hold a public hearing.

It council agrees, plans for the public hearing would wait until council determines if it will give the first reading to an updated application from Costa Canna, a partnership headed by Cowichan Tribes that also wants to set up a pot shop at Cowichan Commons, at its next meeting on July 17.

It first reading is given, and after Costa Canna holds its public information meeting, council would then consider holding a public hearing on both applications at the same time.

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

Just Posted

Kevin Timothy to plead guilty to animal cruelty charge

He will appear at the Duncan courthouse on June 23

To serve and protect Harvest House Food Bank’s mandate

New measures implemented for continual service to the community

Updated contact information needed for continuation of education opportunities

School District to provide resources and support for students

North Cowichan works towards resuming services

Municipal staff doing what it can to meet certain requirements

Recycling centres keep winter hours with visitor restrictions and limited service

Traffic volume up to three times above the norm being experienced

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Government has signed deals with three companies

World COVID-19 updates: Putin may be exposed; 30,000 prisoners released

Comprehensive news update from around the world as of Tuesday, March 31.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

‘I want people to start listening to what the doctors are saying. This is no joke, please stay home’

Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

Teamsters Canada says truckers are increasingly being denied warm meals

Canadians asked to wash mailboxes, keep dogs at bay, to ensure safe mail delivery

Four postal workers in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 infection:

Most Read