It looks like Kyle Cheyne won’t be opening a new cannabis retail outlet in Chemainus to replace Leaf Compassion. (File photo by Don Bodger)

North Cowichan council denies rezoning bid for cannabis outlet in Chemainus

Site on Chemainus Road deemed too close to spaces frequented by youth

North Cowichan council has denied an application by Kyle Cheyne for a retail cannabis outlet at 9750 Chemainus Rd.

Council debated a proposed zoning amendment from Cheyne’s Platinum Cannabis Retail to permit cannabis sales at the location that formerly housed Cheyne’s establishment known as Leaf Compassion Cannabis, but elected not to support it.

The basis for the decision was the location guidelines in the Cannabis Policy adopted by council in January 2019. The site is within 600 metres of St. Joseph’s School (no longer a school), the Chemainus Heritage park/public plaza, the Chemainus Waterwheel Park and the Chemainus Ball Park, all of which are family-oriented properties frequented by children and youth.

Cheyne was somewhat frustrated by the decision.

“Mayor Al Siebring continued to point out that the staff report was unfair giving us a negative recommendation when they gave the last application a positive one having the same issues – they are also within 600 metres away from parks,” he noted in an email to the Courier.

Cheyne stressed raids on the previous establishment were presented in an unfavourable light, but stressed the last one resulted in an absolute discharge for him on any charges.

“I believe this council really needs to start listening to the locals who have lived in Chemainus for their entire lives,” he added. “We used to assist and help hundreds of seniors with medicine the government wouldn’t supply them locally. Over 50 per cent of seniors I’ve met in my life refuse to even go on a computer because it truly is too difficult for them to understand. It stresses them out.

“I feel happy that I at least got the time I did with those locals in Chemainus. I never heard one person ever talking negative to me in the store. Everyone loved the experience. I even cried with some members together because they would tell me what I was supplying saved their lives. And we could relate on struggles that most of us go through.”

Cheyne isn’t giving up.

“It’s not over for us,” he indicated. “We will come back in a legal way one day in North Cowichan.”

In a related matter, council adopted a zoning amendment bylaw to define and permit Micro Cannabis Production Facilities in the Commercial Service Zone (C3).

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