Present: Mayor Maja Tait and Councillors Jeff Bateman, Al Beddows, Ebony Logins, Megan McMath, Brenda Parkinson and Tony St-Pierre.
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 also limit the number of Cannabis Retail Stores in Sooke to three.
Once passed, this will result in then formal addition of Cannabis Retail Stores, defining their permitted use in the C2 General Commercial zone. At this time, the three existing cannabis stores are the only ones being considered.
Once a business submits their application to the province (as all three have), that application then goes to the municipality for approval. A part of the approval from the municipal level is to have a public hearing. In this case, one public hearing would include the three applicants. Staff also noted that the province may or may not give approval to one, two, or any of these stores.
One of the implications of passing this bylaw is that other parties, including the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, would not be permitted operate a cannabis business in Sooke if this Bylaw is adopted as drafted. Further, whatever the zoning, the province has the final say. If the province rejects any or all of the three Cannabis Retail Store license applications, then the existing businesses would not be allowed to continue operation, even though the zoning around their current location exists.
Staff noted that there were no other applications submitted for cannabis retail in Sooke, but informal conversations indicate that about five others may be interested in having a cannabis store in Sooke.
Before passing, this bylaw will have to go to a public hearing, which will be scheduled by District staff.
The motion: THAT Council give First and Second reading to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 730, a bylaw to amend Bylaw No. 600, Sooke Zoning Bylaw, 2013, for the purpose of adding the definition of “Cannabis Retail Store” and adding this use under the C2 General Commercial Zone to site specific areas.
Coun. St-Pierre moved first and second reading and Coun. Logins seconded it. The motion carried unanimously.
Mayor Tait added that the revenue sharing proposed model has shifted to the following breakdown: The Federal government would allocate 75% to the provinces, and of that 40% would go to the municipalities.
Also discussed at the February 25 meetings:
- Sooke gets ready to zone cannabis retail stores
- Sooke Council denies land removal from ALR
- Sooke RCMP statistics for January, 2019
- After a decade of flatlined remuneration, Sooke’s elected officials get substantial pay increase