Brad Styles and Cindy Pendergast say they remain confident they will be able to open their shop in the 2400-block of Beacon Avenue despite suffering a set back earlier this week. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Proponents of proposed Sidney cannabis store remain confident

Cindy Pendergast and Brad Styles are confident they can reach a compromise with Sidney

An entrepreneur remains confident she will be able to open what would be Sidney’s first pot shop despite suffering a setback earlier this week.

“The logic to us is that we have followed the process,” said Cindy Pendergast of Happy Buddha Cannabis. “We know that we are doing things the right way, and things will happen for us positively,” she added later. “We believe that hard work and doing the right thing will result in a licensed and legal cannabis store right at 2410 Beacon Ave.”

RELATED: Sidney plans to prohibit pot stores on main shopping street

Pendergast made those comments after council, meeting as committee-of-the-whole Tuesday, denied her application because of storefront design issues. Staff assessing the application found that it met every one of Sidney’s conditions with the “notable exception” of its storefront design. It calls for opaque window coverings as the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCRB) requires them but which are in violation of development permit guidelines for the area prohibiting such coverings because of Beacon Avenue’s status as Sidney’s main shopping street.

RELATED: Sidney locals asked for input on recreational marijuana shops

Pendergast said she and her business partner Brad Styles are currently working with Sidney and the LCRB to find a compromise that would allow them to open their store on Beacon Avenue.

“We are trying to find something that both the LCRB’s requirement for a completely non-transparent window and Sidney’s requirement that Beacon Avenue be really friendly and amendable to pedestrians going by,” she said. “It looks as though that is a tough thing to get. Tough things are not always unattainable. We think we are going to get there with the help of council and with the help of people in Sidney and on the Peninsula.”

Pendergast noted council’s decision to deny her application is not final yet, and she’s calling on the public to contact the mayor’s office, councillors and staff.

“We did everything the right way,” she said. “We waited for cannabis to be legal. Once it was legal, we spent almost eight months finding a location. We secured the location. We then went to the LCRB, applied to the LCRB in the appropriate way, paid all the fees, and we have now been referred by the LCRB to the municipality. So it’s the municipality’s job at this point to receive public input and to determine, as they did in August, that cannabis retail is a permitted use on Beacon Avenue.”

That too, however, may change, as council asked staff to bring forward an amendment that would ban all cannabis retail location on Beacon Avenue by a narrow vote of 4-3, a little more than two months after council had approved Beacon Avenue as a permissible location. It too still requires final ratification.

When asked what sort of message this decision sends, Pendergast said it shows that entrepreneurs need to “work very hard” and be “very brave” in working with all relevant parties, while managing their own expectations.

“We are, like everyone else is, working through this progression towards our store opening,” she said later. “We are not alone.”


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