Fancy pot shop

West Kelowna should bend its own rules and allow for consideration of a sixth pot shop because, in part, the proposed government-owned one would be a high class operation, BC Cannabis says

West Kelowna should bend its own rules to allow for consideration of a government-owned pot shop, city councillors will hear Tuesday.

Mayor Gord Milsom wants council to revisit a July 23 decision not to accept a pot shop application from the government-owned cannabis retailer.

Milsom is using his prerogative as mayor to bring the matter back to council within the 30-day time limit. The July 23 application was rejected in a three-three tie vote, with Coun. Rick de Jong absent.

City council has set a five-store limit for pot shops in West Kelowna.

A representative for BC Cannabis Stores says the company intended to submit a proposal during the first application window, which ran from mid-October to early January, but wasn’t able to do so because a suitable location couldn’t be found.

Despite missing the application period, BC Cannabis makes the argument its proposal should still be considered by city council because the pot shop would be a “marquis-retail facility”, with 20 unionized workers employed in a big store.

“(We) have earmarked West Kelowna as a high priority market to provide residents the option to obtain a newly legal product from an established and trusted retail chain,” Kevin Satterfield, regional director of operations, writes in a letter to the city.

“Ample parking, street visibility, and loading mechanisms would also substantiate the location as a premium outlet in the non-medical retail cannabis market,” Satterfield writes.

The government-owned pot shop is proposed for the Westbank Towne Centre strip mall, near the existing government-owned liquor store, in premises occupied by a dollar store. The dollar store is expected to move to another site in the mall.

Wages for people employed at government-owned pot shops start at $21 an hour.

At the July 23 meeting, West Kelowna city councillors Doug Findlater, Carol Zanon, and Jason Friesen voted against considering the government-owned pot shop proposal. Milsom and councillors Stephen Johnston and Jayson Zilkie were in favour.