Gibsons council has passed zoning amendments that will allow a cannabis production facility on a property at 1037 Venture Way in the town’s main industrial area. It’s the first production facility to get zoning under the town’s new cannabis policy.
The proposal was up for public hearing on July 14, where two written submissions opposing the zoning were filed. One cited the potential impact of odours from the facility on the nearby residential neighbourhood in Parkland and another pointed out that while there are no grow-ops in the area with approved zoning, there are “several existing cannabis growing operations on this street.”
The zoning amendments were before council on July 21, when they received third reading with little debate, although some councillors acknowledged odour control as an area of concern.
At the time, Mayor Bill Beamish said he wanted to know more about the proponents and the specific plans for the facility before considering adoption, which was on the agenda at a July 28 special council meeting.
Beamish said he would prefer to defer the vote until the proponent is able to make a presentation to council, a move which would trigger a new public hearing.
Beamish said he would have no qualms about “back peddling” and Coun. Annemarie De Andrade said she agreed that council should learn more about the specific plans for the facility.
Coun. Aleria Ladwig argued for going ahead because regardless of the plans, the site is one of the few in Gibsons suited to cannabis production.
“I have mixed feelings about the production of cannabis being allowed in Gibsons period,” Ladwig said. “But if we’re going to support it, I can’t think of a better lot in town to do so… Where else are you going to do it? It really is perfect, or as perfect as Gibsons can offer.”
Coun. David Croal added that given the facility would still need a development permit, which council has the final say on, and must meet strict Health Canada guidelines, he would support the rezoning and “monitor it as it progresses.”
In the end, Beamish and all three councillors present at the meeting voted in favour of adoption.
As Gibsons council prepares for its first legally zoned production facility, the province’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) continues to process applications for retail locations on the Coast.
So far only two have received final approval – Coastal Bay Cannabis in Gibsons and 420 Hemp Shop in Sechelt, although the LCRB now lists Weeds, also in Sechelt, as “coming soon” and has assigned the store a licence number.
Applications are pending for a second Coastal Bay location in Upper Gibsons, a store called Coastal Green proposed for Wilson Creek, and Sun Coast Culture in Sechelt – all of which have been endorsed by the municipal governments.
The province’s own plans to open a BC Cannabis Store in the new phase of the shíshálh Nation’s Tsain-Ko Village Shopping Centre have been in the works for more than a year and the Liquor and Cannabis Distribution Branch, which runs the provincial retail stores, said it was hoping to open in early 2021.