It appears that recreational cannabis users in Oliver will soon have several stores to choose from.
On Monday, Director of Development Services Randy Houle updated Town council on how the cannabis application process works. He also disclosed information on the applications the Town has received.
Houle said the new zoning bylaw allows retail cannabis operations in the TC (Town Centre) zone and the C2 (highway commercial) zone.
He noted the first step for someone wanting to open a cannabis store is to apply to the province’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
Once that is done, the branch begins a “fit and proper” assessment (background checks and security screening), and refers the application to the Town.
Houle said once the assessment is complete, the Town begins the notification process by sending feedback forms to property owners within 100 metres of the store’s location. These comments are forwarded to council for review, and then council decides whether to give a positive or negative recommendation.
Houle said if the Town does not give the thumbs up to an application, it does not proceed.
Once the province gives the final approval, the Town can grant a business licence.
“It (the process) is a bit convoluted,” Houle said.
The director updated council on two current applications, one being Blue Water Cannabis on Main Street next to Pharmasave (in the space formerly used by Christine’s Closet).
The other application is the BC Cannabis Store in Southwinds Crossing Shopping Centre (next to Bosley’s pet store).
Houle mentioned four other applications that the province has received (but they haven’t made their way to the Town yet).
One is Cannabis Corner in Southwinds Crossing next to the liquor store.
Another is Interior Cannabis at 6234 Main Street, next to Aunty Ag’s fish and chip restaurant.
The third one is Tumbleweeds at 6276 Main, next to Sundance Video, and the fourth is Higher Path at 58569 Main Street in the old rental centre building.
Councillor Petra Veintimilla asked if the public notification process is mandatory with every cannabis store application. Houle said yes, noting that if the Town gives a positive recommendation, it must solicit public feedback.