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Location, Location, Location

Council denies a plan to open a pot store on Promontory

Rick Toor (l) and his associates make a presentation to city council Tuesday.







n Tuesday, Chilliwack city councillors put the kibosh on a company's second attempt to rezone the area around the mini mall at 5615 Tesky Way on Promontory, where they currently operate a liquor store, to a C9 zone so they can sell marijuana.

Rick Toor and his associates asked council to reconsider their request to rezone.


After a thorough presentation, the former owners of Duke's Pub, failed to gain the city's backing and were ultimately denied the C9 motion and also a Public Hearing in a unanimous council decision.


It could be a slippery slope for council to rezone one C9 for one  business when others may want the same opportunity elsewhere.


According to council, any Public Hearing on the matter should be tossed because it would be a lengthy mess with both sides battling it out 1n chambers. The company can make another application in six months.


Mayor Ken Popove came out in support of a Public Hearing but that was scrubbed when the other six councillors voiced concerns about the location.

The city's main concerns were: it would be near a place where slurpies are sold with youth hanging around, the daycare, traffic and parking in the mini mall, property devaluation and e-spam.

According to Toor, the company has 450 signatures from members in the area and found 82 per cent in support of an outlet.

Toor said they did a parking study and the mall wouldn't be affected.


Regarding lowering property values with a pot store there, Toor told council that in some cases residential areas with dispensaries have actually increased the value of homes.

As part of the presentation an unnamed Kamloops RCMP constable was quoted saying that in his experiences there the store in his area doesn't affect the safety of the community and asks where the facts are to backup statements that crime increases in neighbourhoods that had pot dispensaries.


"No, I have not seen changes in violent crimes in the area immediately surrounding the cannabis store in Kamloops... Why would you be trying to determine whether a cannabis store opening in an area would cause crime to go up? What is your theory behind the question and what is your baseline?


Just like any business that sells drugs like alcohol and tobacco in Chilliwack, pot too has its set of rules and regulations.

The marijuana comes prepackaged so there are no odors and anyone caught smoking pot on the property would be banned from coming back.

Toor added that the store would have screened windows away from youth's prying eyes and they would block off a space behind the building which has the potential for being a place where kids could congregate. Additionally, the area around the store would be equipped with 24-hour video surveillance.

The company assisted in building a playground at Promontory Elementary.

Since being elected councillor Bud Mercer, has been vocal in his stance against marijuana citing his 35 years of involvement and experience with the RCMP's drug enforcement branch said he would be voting against the motions tabled.

Apparently Mercer flip-flopped on the idea of legal weed in the community saying he didn't have an issue with marijuana and hopped on board with the other councillors who all voiced concern about the location.

Councillor Harv Westeringh acknowledged the company was in a bad situation but was torn about the proposed location.

Councillor Jason Lum said he also had misgivings about the location and would be voting against it.

"We don't know what the burden on the community a pot store would have," said Lum.

He also want to see a study done regarding how much excise tax all three levels of government would get, urging the group to take their plans to 'MLA's and MPs'.

Councillor Jeff Shields called it "skinning the game" adding that they were a responsible company but there is a "huge conflict".




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