Saanich could be home to the region’s first BC Cannabis Store.
The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch has applied to open a non-medical cannabis dispensary in the upper level of Uptown Shopping Centre.
Saanich council will review a report from municipal staff recommending the request for the non-medical cannabis retail shop proposed for E107 and E109 - 3561 Blanshard Street be supported and sent to a public hearing. Public hearings were paused due to COVID-19 but will resume on June 2 using a phone-in model.
“We know that many of our residents partake,” Mayor Fred Haynes said. “It makes sense for us to have it available in Saanich.”
He feels Uptown is a “good location” for Saanich’s first legal cannabis store.
David Adelman, owner of Parc Modern Home, located next to the proposed location for the BC Cannabis Store, isn’t concerned about a dispensary coming to Uptown. He feels it would bring more people to the mall at a time when business is down due to COVID-19.
Cascadia Liquor Store employee Sydney Pilot doesn’t think a pot shop in the mall would change anything. However, she noted that shoppers frequently come into the liquor store looking for the nearest dispensary and Pilot said it would be nice not direct people out of town.
If the shop is approved, it would be Greater Victoria’s first BC Cannabis Store, but Haynes said eventually, Saanich could be home to several more locations.
Based on several factors including geography and demographics, Saanich could have between six and eight cannabis retail stores, Haynes said. He added that the municipality has decided that it’s best for the cannabis retail stores to go in near existing liquor stores as the location requirements – including being set back from schools, playgrounds and community centres – are similar.
According to a report submitted to council, the school closest to the proposed location is Cloverdale Traditional School which is about a kilometre away and the nearest existing playground – Taylor Park – is more than 200 metres away.
The report also states that residents and business owners within a 180-metre radius received notice when the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch applied for the proposed store. At the time of the report, only two responses had been received and both indicated no objections to the proposed cannabis shop.
Notices were also sent to the Saanich police and fire departments, School District 61, the Mount View Colquitz Community Association and the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association. The District received responses from Saanich police, Saanich fire and the Mount View Colquitz Community Association stating no objections.