Kelowna council again denied a cannabis store due to distance

Council holds firm on pot

Kelowna city council has again turned down an application for a cannabis retail store because it fell within 500 metres of an approved location.

But, unlike an earlier denial where the stores were a little more than 100 metres apart, this one was just slightly under the 500 metre limit.

City planner Ryan Smith said the city determines distance lot-line to lot-line, while applicant David Moore told council the actual door-to-door distance was more than 600 metres, and 750 metres if you were walking or driving.

Moore's proposed store would have been located on Dilworth Drive next to Rusty's Sports Lounge, while the previously approved location is a government store in the Dilworth Shopping Centre.

Moore told council the two stores would likely be servicing two separate market areas, and doesn't feel there would be any clustering between the two sites.

He also said he has a lot of neighbourhood support for the store.

Despite his pleas, council voted 6-2 against the application.

Coun. Luke Stack said he does feel for the applicant because the distance between the two locations is so close to the bylaw's threshold, but reiterated his previous stance that council should wait for 18 other approved stores to open before tinkering with its bylaw.

"I think we do need to follow staff policy until we have a full roll out of the stores we have approved to see how it affects it," said Stack.

"Even though I know we're talking distance today, I think the bigger issue is how many stores will be in Kelowna, and how well will it serve the community. From my perspective, I want to see the 18 stores roll out before I start supporting a lot of amendments to this policy."

Stack did support one amendment to distance, voting yes for a second downtown location at Leon Avenue and Pandosy Street.

"I hope I didn't open a great big can of worms by doing that, but I thought in the whole downtown we could handle two.

"But, I didn't want it to be a precedent, so I'm going to stay with staff policy."

Coun. Gail Given, who had voted in favour of two previous applications, hand a change of heart Monday.

"The thing that maybe has tweaked me this time is the number of text amendments that are starting to roll in the door are increasing," she said.

"Maybe, there is a sense that council will support the text amendment, and that we are actually not supportive of the rule of 500 metres. That starts to concern me if we start to see more and more come in."

Given said she voted against the application because she doesn't want to see a lot of amendment applications come in.

Coun. Charlie Hodge, who along with Mayor Basran supported the application, reiterated his previous stance saying the bylaw requiring 500 metres between businesses is flawed.

He added this is the only business that has such a restriction.

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