This map shows the proposed location of the pot shop that the City of Victoria denied last week. If it had gone to public hearing and received approval, it would have been right at the border with Saanich.

This map shows the proposed location of the pot shop that the City of Victoria denied last week. If it had gone to public hearing and received approval, it would have been right at the border with Saanich.

Victoria denies potshop on Saanich border

Plans for a pot shop on Saanich’s border have gone up in smoke after Victoria denied proponents a public hearing.

The proposed shop would have been located on the corner of Tolmie Avenue and Quadra Street, and Saanich residents living within 100 metres of the proposed site would have received public hearing notices under Victoria’s procedures. Victoria staff had recommended a public hearing, because the applicant had met Victoria’s guidelines for pot shops.

“If the application had been moved through to public hearing, Saanich [council] may well have had additional interest as well as local residents,” said Megan Catalano, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich.

But since the application did not go forward, Saanich has declined to publicly comment on the issue. “Saanich staff don’t have a reaction on Victoria council’s decision,” said Catalano.

Saanich – contrary to Victoria – does not license pot shops. But if the application by G.S. Pharmaceuticals had gone forward and received approval, it would have been at least the fourth shop of its kind within the proximity of the Saanich-Victoria border.

While Victoria council ultimately denied the application on grounds of the proposed shop’s proximity to Quadra elementary school following a letter from its parents advisory council, at least one Victoria councillor suggested that its proximity to Saanich played a role.

“Have we talked to Saanich?” asked Coun. Chris Coleman in framing the issue as a question of neighbourliness. “Do we do that? It is an unusual item from that perspective.”

Victoria council also broadly agreed that Saanich should have received notification of the proposal had it gone forward, with the proviso that such a notification should not have included an invitation to respond.

Coun. Geoff Young said it would not be appropriate for Victoria to seek comment from Saanich.

“As a district, they have made a decision,” he said. “They are not supportive of our policy, and I think it is a little hypocritical for us to be asking for them to respond on an issue, when we are already aware of this contradiction.”

Three cannabis retailers currently operate within walking distance from Saanich’s border. Farmacy operates near the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Shelbourne Street, while Trees Dispensary operates near Tolmie Avenue and Douglas Street. Burnside Dispensary, meanwhile, operates at the intersection of Harriet Road and Burnside Road, with the Saanich border just steps away.

Catalano said Saanich neither sought nor offered input of any kind about the failed pot shop proposal, adding Victoria did not solicit input from Saanich as the application was working its way through. Victoria and Saanich have also not communicated about the Burnside Dispensary.

Catalano said Saanich recognizes that Victoria has taken a “different policy approach” to the regulation of marijuana retail.

“Because our municipalities border each other this means that at times there may be conflicting direction taken,” she said. “At this time Saanich awaits clear policy direction from the provincial government on marijuana retailing framework in B.C. leading up to legalization in the province.

Once the provincial government has supplied this framework, Saanich would implement a regulatory and policy framework that aligns with provincial direction and continues to best represent the interests of the residents of Saanich, she said.

Some of those answers have started to arrive, after the provincial government announced that both private and public retailers will sell maijuana, with anyone older than 19 years able to purchase it legally.

The federal government, meanwhile, has announced that the provinces stand to reap 75 per cent of marijuana revenues.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A walk for autism awareness. (Black Press Media file photo)
COLUMN: Autism acceptance, not autism awareness

Elizabeth Sparling is the mother of a 24-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Claremont Secondary’s year-long drama class will perform TRAP, a thrilling play by Stephen Gregg, virtually from April 14-17 at 7 p.m. (Image courtesy Colin Plant)
Claremont’s drama students to ‘TRAP’ audience’s attention with thrilling virtual performances

Grade 9-12 drama class will perform via livestream from April 14-17

Eli, left, Brent, Lindsay and Ava Wilson. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wilson)
West Shore families share experience in raising a child with autism

Two families reveal some parallels, but circumstances are different for everyone

Kit Thornton, chief aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, plays with Wanda, the female Giant Pacific octopus currently residing at the centre. The centre will release Wanda back into the wild next month. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
An octopus named Wanda will soon say goodbye to Sidney

Wanda’s personality is ‘complete opposite’ of previous octopus named after Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

Most Read