Terrace council has given its blessing to what will be the city’s fifth marijuana sales outlet in the downtown core, three shy of the maximum allowed by city regulations.
With the exception of councillor Inder Dhillon, who absented himself from discusion because he’s a partner in the business seeking approval, the five remaining councillors agreed Nov. 28 to recommend approval to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch
Dhillon is a partner in the Deviant Fibres store which now sells cannabis-use accessories and which applied to the regulation branch for a cannabis sales licence in June. It’s located adjacent to Subway on the west end of Lakelse Ave.
One councillor, Dave Gordon, said that while he was not troubled with the specific application before council, he was troubled that existing city regulations could allow as many as eight cannabis stores.
“This is not my view of a healthy downtown,” he said.
“But I don’t think this application is the one we want to change those rules on,” Gordon added.
Other councillors argued that the demand for recreational marijuana will eventually decide how many stores remain viable.
Councillor James Cordeiro, whose Xanders coffee shop is in the middle of the downtown core, told fellow councillors that he has seen no ill effects from the marijuana sales outlets that are in close proximity to his business.
Councillor Sarah Zimmerman compared the current and potential number of marijuana sales outlets to the number of outlets in B.C. municipalities of a similar population size to Terrace.
Cranbrook has eight, Dawson Creek has five, Duncan has six and Penticton has nine, she said.
“I think that five is probably in keeping in what looks to be a pattern for other communities around the province,” Zimmerman said.
Council earlier heard that the licence application met the requirements of the provincial regulation branch and satisfied city zoning and other requirements.
Mayor Sean Bujtas noted that a previous council approved of a sales licence in the same location as Deviant Fibres but that the business never opened.
But council’s approval did not come without opposition from a Terrace resident at the Nov. 28 council meeting.
Yvonne Nielsen said she has heard from many Terrace residents who oppose the licensing of another cannabis sales outlet.
“It causes brain damage,” Nielsen told council of cannabis consumption.
“You guys are supposed to be role models for Terrace. What are you saying to youth and and kids?” she said.