Two more retail cannabis stores have received positive recommendations from Port Alberni City Council.
Council supported the approval and authorization of Port Pot Shop (Third Avenue) and Hive Cannabis (Redford Street) during a meeting on Monday, April 8. These positive recommendations will be forwarded to the province’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) for final decision.
Port Pot Shop, which is located in the same building as West Coast Hemp, received only one piece of negative correspondence, as the neighbouring Houle Printing expressed concerns about traffic in the area. The applicant, Al Frank, explained that the backyard has undergone some major renovations to try and improve traffic and parking. Councillor Ron Corbeil agreed that the back of the property looks “really nice,” but suggested looking at the lighting in the alley.
Council also received four pieces of negative feedback for Hive Cannabis’ application. One, from the next door Iris Optometry, expressed concern that a retail cannabis store located next to the office will “discourage parents from bringing their children in for care.” Councillor Debbie Haggard also said she was concerned about the neighbouring McDonald’s, which is frequented by high school students.
The applicant, Neil Rockerbie, assured council that the windows looking into the store will be covered and no one under the age of 19 will be allowed inside.
He also pointed out that allowing more government-regulated cannabis stores in town will dissuade the black market and “criminal element.”
Another piece of negative feedback came from Major Rai, whose cannabis retail store was approved and will be located across the street. But bylaw services manager Flynn Scott reminded council on Monday that new bylaws adopted by council do not have any rules or regulations about setbacks between cannabis stores.
Mayor Sharie Minions agreed that the market will determine which stores will stay.
“Only the stores that are providing quality service in the community will survive,” she said on Monday.
Despite the pieces of negative feedback, Hive Cannabis also received five letters of support from neighbouring businesses.
In February, city council gave approval for a government-run cannabis store to open at the Pacific Rim Shopping Centre. Last month, council also approved two other private cannabis retailers. Scott confirmed on Monday that these are the only retail cannabis applications that the city has received from the province at this time.