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Penticton  

Pot shop opposes pot shop

A business owner in Summerland has petitioned council to block cannabis shops downtown, saying downtown isn't an appropriate place for "this type" of retail — despite also being the co-owner of another future cannabis shop right in the heart of downtown Penticton. 

Dionne Bakalos and her husband Kosta are the co-owners of Summerland Gold & Silver Exchange as well as Penticton's Bluenose Coins & Currency, the latter of which has city council approval to become a cannabis shop.

She also owns Green Gaia in Summerland, one of the few shops already approved by the district, awaiting a pending provincial license.

Bakalos wrote a letter to Summerland council, which they will discuss at Monday's meeting as part of deciding whether to approve The Cannabis Store at 13203 Victoria Road North, a potential local competitor to Green Gaia.

In the letter, she strongly opposes the store. Her argument is that it won't be good for downtown businesses, like her gold exchange business two doors down. 

"The customers that come to my store have expressed security concerns purchasing products from my store with the potential of this business going in next door," she wrote. "A short distance away is Memorial Park, two schools, a library and recreational facility. This area is “youth sensitive” and our children should not be subjected to the storefront on a daily basis."

Proximity to parks, other businesses and children were a concern for some when Green Gaia applied to open in downtown Penticton. Councillor Jake Kimberley and some neighbours opposed allowing cannabis stores downtown back in January. 

Bluenose Coins & Currency is located a block away from Gyro Park and less than a block from a daycare, as well as being prominent in the main hub of Penticton's business district, a neighbour to many other shops. It is currently awaiting a provincial license to become Green Gaia Penticton and sell cannabis.

Castanet spoke to both Dionne Bakalos and her husband Kosta Bakalos. Kosta declined to speak on the record, and Dionne provided written comment via email.

"We were advised by the District of Summerland to plan to open a retail cannabis store away from the downtown area. We did that, at a large investment, and now there are proposed applications in the downtown area," Bakalos wrote. 

She then wrote Penticton's downtown is "in no way" comparable to downtown Summerland, due to there being more schools, more recreational facilities and a library in the main area of Summerland's downtown core. 

Dionne's name also appears on a petition Summerland council will be receiving Monday with dozens of other signatures requesting a cannabis exclusion zone downtown, a cap on the number of local licenses, a minimum distance of 750 metres between stores as well as a block on government cannabis shops in order to allow local businesses to flourish instead. 



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