White Rock takes ‘gradual’ approach to pot sales

Zoning bylaw to be amended to provide for a one-store pilot program in the town centre

White Rock leaders have endorsed a city staff recommendation for a “limited and gradual” introduction of recreational cannabis retailing – once it becomes legal.

At last week’s land use and planning committee meeting, council members opted for a one-store pilot program for the town centre, one of a series of options presented by staff.

Direction to staff is to prepare proposed amendments to White Rock’s zoning bylaw, which will be subsequently voted on by council.

The store would be allowed under a temporary-use permit (TUP), which can be in effect for three years, with possibility of a further three-year renewal by council. However, TUPs are subject to land-use, design and business-licence parameters, and can be revoked by the city at any point if issues are not addressed.

The bylaw is to stipulate that the store would have to be located in the town centre, a minimum of 200 metres from a school, a minimum of 100 metres from a childcare facility and at least 30 metres from any park.

In a corporate report, council members were told that White Rock’s limited commercial land base and the need for pedestrian-friendly corridors “requires a measured and well-managed approach to introducing a previously illegal substance for everyday consumption.”

The provincial government’s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act indicates that there will be both provincial distribution outlets and private retail outlets in B.C. once federal legalization occurs on Oct. 17. The report states that all applications are subject to city approval.

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