Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District approves one cannabis store, denies another

Stores would have been located across the street from one another in Cherry Creek

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District has approved an application for one retail cannabis store in Cherry Creek, and denied another.

The applications for Alberni Cannabis Co. and Green Coast Cannabis were both forwarded to the ACRD board from the provincial government back in April. The proposed properties are both located on the Alberni Highway, right across the street from one another.

READ: Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District weighs pair of cannabis store applications

After a public meeting, the ACRD board made the decision to approve the application for Alberni Cannabis Co. in April. The store, if given final approval by the provincial government, will be attached to the Alberni Liquor Store at 2970 Alberni Highway. However, the proponents still have a lengthy process to go through with the province before a final decision is made.

The board denied the application from Green Coast Cannabis on Wednesday, June 12.

Directors were worried about the proximity to the other store, which does not meet the 300 metre setback in the ACRD’s policy, and were worried that Green Coast Cannabis had been operating illegally. The application also would have been subject to a temporary use permit, as the location is not zoned for retail.

However, director Debbie Haggard, who lives in Cherry Creek, was worried about traffic congestion. She believed that having a retail store on either side of the highway would ease some of that congestion.

“That is a very, extremely busy highway,” she said. “If somebody’s going west, you cannot make a left-hand turn. I think by not approving both, that would cause more issues.”

A motion was made to give a positive recommendation to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB), but this was defeated.

Manager of planning and development Mike Irg said on Wednesday that this denial will be forwarded to the LCRB. “The board has said ‘no’ to this location,” he explained. “Potentially, [the applicants] could apply for a different location.”

A week after this decision was made, the ACRD board hosted a committee of the whole meeting on Wednesday, June 19 to discuss the policy for cannabis retail stores. Irg suggested an “intake period” twice a year, that would allow applications to be submitted every six months.

This discussion will continue at an upcoming Electoral Area Directors Committee meeting.

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