One of the applicants, Rob MacIsaac and store manager Charity Neufeld, at the proposed location in the Service Centre. (Photo Gerry Leibel)

Pot shop applications get the nod from province

Now it’s up to Kitimat and council to decide

As applications by two cannabis retailers for stores in Kitimat go out for public comment, the District of Kitimat is beefing up legislation controlling the use of cannabis throughout the District.

Applications for a store at 432 Enterprise Ave. and 213 City Centre were submitted to the District of Kitimat at the August 19 council meeting.

The two applications were approved by the provincial government’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) and sent to the DoK on August 13 and 15 for consideration.

District of Kitimat Director of Economic Development Mike Dewar said even though the LCRB has referred the applications to the DoK for consideration, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of the process.

“It’s not a guarantee that the province will approve the applications. If council decides it’s a no the application will go back to the province for consideration,” said Dewar.

He said the DoK has 90 days in which to return the application to the LCRB, after which the province will make a final decision.

“Even if the council approves the application, it will still have to go back to the province for a final decision,” said Dewar.

Council will make its decision of whether to approve the applications based on feedback received from the public. He urged the public to participate in the public meetings, which will be advertised within the next month.

MORE: Kitimat’s first two pot shop applications

Also at the August 19 council meeting, a draft bylaw titled: Restriction of Cannabis Use in Public Places and Parks Bylaw No. 1955 was submitted by DoK staff following a request by council to look into a bylaw that looked at restrictions on cannabis use in public, similar to the bylaw adopted by Terrace and the provincial government.

“The bylaw attempts to mirror the City of Terrace when it comes to parks and recreation areas. Of note is that the City of Terrace has included tobacco and cannabis in their restrictions, both smoked and vaporized,” said DoK corporate administration director, Ethan Anderson.

He said the inclusion of the smoking of cannabis in cigarette form in the proposed bylaw was augmented with a clause that will include the smoking of cannabis using an e-cigarette or vape machine.

“What must be made clear is that the District is only attempting to restrict use that isn’t consumed in compliance with a license issued under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act or Controlled Drugs and Substance Act,” said Anderson.

The proposed bylaw, which won’t apply to medical cannabis, also seeks to prohibit the smoking of cannabis in a number of locations throughout the District, including skating rink, sports fields, the swimming pool, playgrounds and skate parks. Also on the list are in transit shelters, bus stops and taxi stands.

The bylaw will apply to land designated as parks by District zoning, as well as six metres from the parks’ boundaries.

The proposed fine for violating the bylaw, smoking or vaping cannabis/tobacco in restricted areas, could potentially result in a $100 fine.

The next APC meeting is scheduled for September 18, after which the District will open a public comment period which will close at a regular council meeting where council will ultimately decide whether to approve the bylaw.

Anderson said members of the public will be welcome to submit comments via letter, e-mail or in discussion with District staff, and to attend council meetings either on their own or as a delegation.

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