The rezoning bylaw that would allow for a B.C. Cannabis store to open up in College Heights near Walmart, was the subject of a formal public hearing at the Jan.4 city council meeting.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) has applied to rezone 6565 Southridge Ave, which used to be a Royal Bank of Canada location, to add “retail Cannabis” as a principle use.
City administration says it’s supportive of the rezoning as it is consistent with the shopping centre uses and with the City of Prince George liquor and cannabis license policy.
At the time of the public hearing, the city received no written correspondence related to the bylaw and only one person spoke out against the proposed location.
Former School District 57 trustee Bruce Wiebe touched on the store's proximity to children and families.
“A large portion of the students in School District 57 belong in the family of the College Heights zone. As well as that, you have Walmart where children are shopping with their parents you have a dollar store nearby,” said Wiebe. “I don’t believe that location is appropriate for selling marijuana to adults. I think the location should be reconsidered.”
A representative from the LCRB was also scheduled to attend the hearing, but her flight was cancelled and she was unable to make it.
Council then had to vote on whether or not the rezoning bylaw should be granted third reading.
“I too will be supporting it. I think the horse is out of the barn here,” said Coun. Murry Krause. “I think this is just the beginning of people coming before council to have support for business or the province coming forward with applications.”
Coun. Cori Ramsay also added that the location was far enough away from any school.
“I also think with the restrictions of no minors allowed in the premises are going to quell that concern about children being exposed to cannabis. The province has done a really great job in setting those boundaries and I know they are going to uphold them.”
Council then voted to approve the rezoning bylaw for third reading, which means the proposed B.C. Cannabis store is one step closer to getting the green light.