Two of the first three provincial applications for retail cannabis stores for Salmon Arm are one step closer to opening their doors.
Following a Nov. 13 public hearing, Salmon Arm council offered official support of applications from the Greenery Cannabis Boutique and Salmon Arm Liquor Store Ltd., as they fit city policy for cannabis retailers. An application by Zen Canna, however, involved a location too close to surrounding schools to be supported by council.
The three applications were first received by the city’s mayor and council at the Nov. 5 development and planning committee meeting. At that meeting, councillors said they would support the city’s new Cannabis Retail Stores policy and vote against Zen Canna’s application.
The first application voted on was for the Greenery Cannabis Boutique, which is planned to open a storefront at 190 Trans-Canada Highway, in the former UPS location near the Eco-Treats cafe, and was approved unanimously by council.
Kevin Pearson, the city’s development services director, said approval of this application means it will likely become the first of a maximum of four retail cannabis stores in a designated area of downtown Salmon Arm.
Mike Poulton, who made the application, commented that he took council’s advice and contacted other businesses in the area to explain what they would be doing and has received no negative feedback from neighbouring businesses.
The second application, made by Zen Canna Retail Corp, was for a location at 51-2801 10th Ave. NE, near the Mac’s convenience store.
This application was previously recognized as not meeting the city’s policy on where cannabis retail stores should be located, being within 500-metres of Bastion Elementary, Salmon Arm Secondary and Broadview Elementary.
Pearson noted Zen Canna acquired the property before the city’s bylaw was passed, taking a slight gamble that it would fall within the new policy.
Coun. Chad Eliason said ,“we discuss these at great lengths at council meetings, we set the policy and people were concerned about proximity to schools. This was not an area recommended by the public when we brought forward the policy, and it’s my opinion we are not ready to have a retail store in this location.”
Couns. Kevin Flynn and Louise Wallace Richmond both noted that, while the policy may change in the future, it would be counterproductive to go against their own policy in the very first run of applications to the city.
Zen Canna’s application was denied unanimously by council.
The third application, made by Salmon Arm Liquor Store Ltd., proposes a store at 111 Lakeshore Dr. NE, built as a separate part of the existing Salmon Arm Liquor Store location. The cannabis retail store would have a separate entrance and staff, making it a self-contained operation.
Pearson said this store, if approved, would be the second of four stores allowed in the downtown commercial core of Salmon Arm, and their proposal falls within city bylaws.
No further comments were made on the Salmon Arm Liquor Store Ltd. application, and it was approved unanimously by council.
While approved by the city, these two applications still must pass another round of provincial vetting. The provincial cannabis retail licence application is not the same as a city business licence, and Pearson explained if the former is approved, the latter could then be considered by city staff.
In addition to requiring support from the city, those applying for a provincial licence are subject to a “fit and proper” assessment, which is “comprised of integrity checks and security screenings of the applicant and persons associated with the applicant.”