The backers of a proposed cannabis store in Gibsons, whose application for a temporary use permit was put on hold because councillors ran out of time at a November committee meeting, will now have to wait until at least the spring.
At the Dec. 4 committee of the whole meeting, councillors voted to defer the temporary use permit (TUP) application for Gibsons Greens at 416 Marine Drive until the planning department brings forward a report on creating zoning for cannabis stores.
The current Town policy is to officially prohibit cannabis retail in all zones, which means anyone who wants to operate a cannabis store must apply for a TUP or a site-specific rezoning.
The Town has four TUP applications on the books at various stages of the process, including three from owners who’d been granted business licences before the legalization of non-medical cannabis.
Coun. Stafford Lumley said he felt the Gibsons Greens application was premature and not in keeping with the spirit of how the Town has been approaching the issue, which was to allow existing business-licence holders to carry on, but not expand the number of cannabis retailers.
“The general thought was that the temporary use permits were a way for existing business to continue to operate as they had been operating until the Town figured out where the rezoning would be, or where we’d want these to be located,” Lumley said, introducing a motion to defer consideration of the Gibsons Greens application.
Coun. Aleria Ladwig supported the motion. “I would like to see us get our bylaw in place before we do any more permits or authorize any more stores,” she said.
The other two councillors also supported Lumley’s motion.
Coun. David Croal said he was also concerned about the proposed location of Gibsons Greens, which would put it in the same block as another cannabis store that could soon get its provincial licence, and on the lower level of the building, accessed off the waterfront walkway.
Coun. Annemarie De Andrade said she also had concerns about the location. “This is a recreational public area – do we want stores where when you open the door right there are kids walking and families and so on? Also I think there’s a bigger question; do we want commercialization of the waterfront?”
The motion to defer consideration of the application passed unanimously.
Director of planning Lesley-Ann Staats told the committee she expected the report on zoning for cannabis stores would be presented “sometime in the spring.”
Later, at the regular council meeting, councillors endorsed an earlier committee recommendation to move forward with the TUP application for S&M Medicinal Sweet Shoppe at 706 Gibsons Way, but for only one year.