Courtenay council

Cannabis applicant proposes to support affordable housing in Courtenay

A consultant for the applicant was the only person to speak at a public hearing, Monday in Courtenay council chambers, about a proposed cannabis retailer at 605/625 Cliffe Ave.

“In Canada, we are in a transition, working to draw consumers away from black market cannabis into a safe, legal and legitimate system,” Mark Elyas said on behalf of Inspired Cannabis Company. “Offering high-quality cannabis products in an inviting and convenient location is an opportunity to establish the means towards responsible enjoyment of these products.”

Upon approval of a business licence, Inspired Cannabis will contribute $10,000 towards affordable housing projects.

“Every year, we will also be contributing one per cent of total sales, which we estimate the value to be at about $20,000 per year for the City to disperse towards services to those in need,” Elyas said.

The company gathered 56 signatures from supportive residents and businesses in the area.

The proposed store falls within a 400-metre buffer of two other properties zoned for cannabis retail sales, and within a 300-metre buffer of a playground, though the Riverside Fit Park does not contain a children’s playground. Staff recommends that council proceed with the proposal.

Up to five private cannabis retailers are allowed in Courtenay, along with one government-operated store. Council has approved a government store at the Washington Park Shopping Mall, and private shops at Driftwood Mall, the strip mall at 2270 Cliffe Ave., at 143 Fifth St. and at 576 England Ave. Council has denied applications at 379 Fourth St. and at 1025 Cliffe Ave. Council had approved an application from Terracotta Holdings to operate a store at Courtenay Mall (605/625 Cliffe), but the company withdrew its application.

The government store is the only outlet that has opened for business. Building permits have been issued for 2270 Cliffe and 143 Fifth, while the proponents at Driftwood and England Avenue have not applied for permits.

•The City of Courtenay will use the Alternate Approval Process (AAP) for the $4.1 million Greenwood Trunk Connection to the sanitary sewer system. In an AAP, if 10 per cent of electors sign forms in opposition, a bylaw then proceeds to referendum or is put on hold. The Greenwood Trunk is a priority project required to support growth in East Courtenay. The project is slated for construction next spring. The $4.1 million is to come from reserves ($450,000), general revenue ($50,000), new works revenue ($600,000) and new debt ($3 million). Borrowing would not affect the debt levy. Once constructed, the City will be able to decommission three smaller temporary lift stations, and redirect flows by gravity into the regional district trunk main on Anderton Road.

•Council will support a Courtenay Airpark Association application for a grant from the BC Air Access Program, which aims to support communities and enhance long-term potential of B.C.’s aviation sector.

“Knowing all the good work they do to keep businesses going, I think it would be worthwhile to support them in this endeavour,” Coun. David Frisch said.

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