Present: Major Maja Tait, and Councillors Jeff Bateman,
Al Beddows, Ebony Logins, Megan McMath, Brenda Parkinson, and Tony St-Pierre
Sooke Council entertained a request by a fourth cannabis outlet in town. In earlier meetings, a limit of three had been set. On Monday, March 11, an established Sooke business owner proposed a cannabis retail store with a focus on cannabis education and cannabis tourism.
The owner of Westcoast Adventure College and Stickleback, Scot Taylor, co-presented with Jas Basi, who had a 26-year long career within the RCMP.
In their delegation, Scot Taylor noted that they want to open another Cannabis retail store. Their first project would be to create a high school course on cannabis on health and benefits. Their venture would focus in on cannabis education and cannabis tourism.
Jas Basi, a former RCMP officer, said that many people use cannabis to get off other drugs. Education is key to their success. He noted that they plan to profit share with the town of Sooke, thereby contributing to increased social responsibility.
Earlier, at the February 25 Regular Council Meeting, elected officials passed first and second reading of Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 730 (600-69), 2019, a bylaw to amend the Sooke Zoning Bylaw to include the regulation of Cannabis Retail Stores, as a category separate from the general Retail definition. This zoning amendment would have initially limited the number of Cannabis Retail Stores in Sooke to the three C2 zoned properties, and this inclusion would add the C4 zoned property at 5449 Sooke Rd. This motion will have to be repealed, revised, and then passed with this new inclusion, a process that would add another two weeks to the current cannabis zoning amendment.
Counc. Bateman inquired about a previous suggestion that there were a number of other business owners wanting to set up a cannabis business in Sooke. At an earlier meeting, it was suggested that there were another five or so inquiries, and Sooke Council at that time opted to limit the number to three.
Mayor Tait noted that the other inquiries all came from out-of-town business owners, and argued that this situation was different, as the current business owner had a long established relationship with and in Sooke.
Counc. Logins noted that Council should not be in the business of limiting the number of businesses in any particular market. For her, this proposal added a new proposition (the education component), and that appealed to her.
Council unanimously supported the motion to allow this inclusion in the zoning bylaw amendment.
It should be noted that this zoning amendment is by no means a guarantee that these four shops will be approved by the provincial government. The zoning amendment is required by the province, so that Sooke is legally prepared to have cannabis businesses in town. The individual business still have to go through the provincial application process, and the approval process.
As with any zoning amendment, a public hearing will be held before the final reading is approved or denied. At the same time, the public will have an opportunity to speak to the four businesses proposing retail outlets in Sooke.
- Delegation, Westcoast Adventure College – Delegation Information
- Delegation Supplemental
- Sooke gets ready to zone cannabis retail stores (SPN article, March 5, 2019)
Also discussed at the March 11 2019 Council meeting
- Sooke Minor Fastball receives $7,500 from Council
- Sooke Council does a complete about-face on a variance permit
- Sooke Council accepts consideration of another cannabis outlet in Sooke