A retail cannabis shop, proposed for a location on Victoria Road North in Summerland, has generated strong comments for and against the business.
The application, to be discussed at the Summerland municipal council meeting on Monday evening, is for a non-medical retail store, to be located at 13203 Victoria Rd. N.
Jason Hineman of Highstone Development, the owner of the property and applicant for the business, said the business will benefit the community.
“We are excited to be a part of the City of Summerland community and hope to make significant contribution to both the aesthetic of our new building ass well as our local community by creating jobs and supporting community initiatives,” he said in a letter to council.
Council has also received other comments in support of the proposed business.
“I am in full support of cannabis retail and cannot wait for it to arrive downtown,” Anthony Leardo said in a letter to council. “I can understand the stigma around it, but that doesn’t justify not having it where we need it most.”
In addition, 111 form letters, in support of the business, have been received.
School District 67 has submitted a response on behalf of the school board, recommending the application be denied. The reasons are the proximity of the store to the high school and that the late hours, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., are not in keeping with the business hours in the downtown area.
Others have voiced their concerns in opposition to the proposed business.
“I do not want my kids subjected to this type of business so close to my home,” said Ahren Roshier. “We moved here to be close to the park, schools and the library, not a cannabis dispensary.”
Dionne Bakalos, owner of Summerland Gold and Silver Exchange and also Green Gaia, a cannabis shop at Summerfair Shopping Centre, said the downtown location is not appropriate for a cannabis shop.
“I believe this type of business is not a good fit on this street or in the downtown area,” she said in a letter to council.
“As a responsible business owner in Summerland for 25 years, I feel all cannabis retail stores should be located away from the downtown area.”
In addition, Bakalos has submitted a petition to council, with 40 signatures.
The petition calls for the exclusion of cannabis shops from the downtown area, a cap on the number of cannabis retail licenses in Summerland and a minimum distance of 750 metres between cannabis retail stores.
Under present regulations, cannabis shops are permitted at Summerfair Shopping Centre and in the downtown area. The petition, if it were to be approved, would allow just one cannabis shop in Summerland, at the shopping centre.
Kevin Taylor of Summerland’s planning department said while cannabis grow operations are allowed in other area of the community, retail sales of non-medical cannabis are restricted to just the two areas in the community.
Council will consider the application at the council meeting on Monday. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
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