West Kelowna council will not pave the way for a micro-cultivation cannabis facility in the community.
Council voted 5-1 on Tuesday evening against granting a site-specific amendment to the property at 2648 Kyle Rd. The industrial property already has approved zoning for two other cannabis grow facilities, but council decided almost unanimously to draw the line at this one.
Micro licences are new to the young cannabis industry, with only 10 micro-cultivators approved so far in the province. Their small-batch products are often sold as ‘craft’ and ‘premium’ products. They have are a growing niche in the cannabis market.
Vancouver developer Denciti, which owns the property, wanted to add zoning for a 200-square-metre cannabis growing space to the other two larger licences on the property. While the site's current zoning allows for a cannabis production facility, council approval was still required in this case, in part, because the operation would be 40 metres closer to a residential care home than city rules would normally allow. Interior Health wrote to council, twice, in support of the amendment.
The city received 41 submissions about the application, in particular from those within the 55-plus Crystal Springs manufactured home park with concerns over potential odour and noise
Coun. Jason Friesen was the only one to support the amendment.
“Times have changed,” he said. “Technologies have changed.”
West Kelowna’s bylaws dealing with cannabis production were set in 2014, when only medical licences were being granted and they had fewer restrictions on things like the smell.
Coun. Jayson Zilkie said he couldn’t embrace the proposal because the application “doesn’t really add any additional value.”
He also said he didn’t want to set a precedent that would open up council to more applicants seeking site-specific amendments.
“It’s important for our residents to understand that we have fairly conservative bylaws compared to our neighbours. I think that’s great. It’s served and protected them in this instance.”
City staff took the opportunity to point out that West Kelowna has stricter rules against cannabis production than Kelowna.
Council agreed on the need to review bylaws that surround site-specific amendments and multi-tenancy cannabis zoning.