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The Colwood community will have an opportunity to weigh in and learn about the City’s potential first cannabis store.

A public hearing is scheduled online on June 22 at 6 p.m. so residents can provide input on changes proposed to a zoning bylaw that would allow for a cannabis store at Colwood Corners. The store would be located at 310 Wale Rd., unit 202 and the rezoning would only apply to that property. Currently, the Colwood land use bylaw does not allow the use of a premises – other than a licensed pharmacy under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations – to distribute, sell and dispense cannabis in any form. The bylaw was created in 2016.

Since then, possession and sales of non-medical cannabis has been legalized and the provincial Cannabis Control and Licensing Act allows for cannabis retail licensing similar to liquor licensing.

Costa Canna Corp., the company applying to open the store, held a public meeting on Feb. 25 prior to the application going to Committee of the Whole. Letters were hand-delivered to properties near the proposed store location and a sign was put up about the development application. One person attended the public input meeting who, according to City of Colwood documents, voiced concerns about “undesirable people frequenting the area.”

“We explained that the demographic we serve is primarily 50 plus and that the pricing of the products we offer are not necessarily affordable to individuals that are ‘undesirable’,” a letter from Costa Canna Corp. to the City says. “We offered insight into our business model and images of our current stores which represents a boutique style environment.”

According to the City of Colwood, Costa Canna Corp. has not yet applied to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for a non-medical cannabis retail licence but will be doing so after first and second readings of the bylaw in question.

Costa Canna Corp. has a partnership with the Cowichan Tribes and looks to provide opportunities for Indigenous communities across B.C. Its flagship store is in the Cowichan Valley with a second location in the Valley under development.

Individuals who believe their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaw will be given a chance to be heard at the public hearing on Monday. Written submissions can be provided by e-mail to publichearing@colwood.ca. A drop box located at the main entrance of city hall is available for hand delivered letters as well. The deadline to receive written submissions is noon on June 22.

Community members can also register to speak live via phone at the electronic hearing by e-mailing the same address as above. Once registered, a phone number to join the live meeting will be provided. The deadline to register to speak live is 9 a.m. on June 22.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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