Victoria council votes against BC Cannabis store, mayor calls for reconsideration
The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria is shown: (Google Maps)
VICTORIA -- Victoria city council has voted against allowing a BC Cannabis store to move into the Bay Centre, a decision that the municipality’s mayor is hoping to have reviewed.
This summer, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) told CTV News that it had applied to the city to open a retail cannabis store in the downtown shopping complex.
The BCLDB was hoping to move into a 1,300-square foot storefront at 1150 Douglas St. that would open in mid-2021.
At a council meeting on Nov. 5, city council voted against approving a rezoning permit that would allow the government-run pot shop to open in the Bay Centre. Only councillors Geoff Young and Jeremy Loveday voted in favour of the application.
Now, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is hoping to have the decision reconsidered after hearing from the general manager of the Bay Centre.
Helps says that general manager Darlene Hollstein reached out to her saying that other businesses were considering moving into nearby vacant storefronts if the BC Cannabis Store were to open.
"These units have been vacant for an extended period, and – with the dispensary proposed – Ms. Hollstein has begun to have inquiries from prospective retail tenants, one of which is a high-quality local retailer," she wrote in a notice to council.
Helps is now using special powers granted to mayors under the B.C. community charter to have the matter brought back to council.
"Given the difficult circumstances facing local businesses and property owners and the potential increase in downtown vacancies as COVID-19 continues, I am asking council to reconsider its decision on this matter, to put the option back on the table for consideration and consider sending this proposal forward to a public hearing so we can hear from the public on the matter," wrote Helps.
Earlier this year, Saanich council approved Greater Victoria’s first BC Cannabis store location at Uptown shopping centre.
The government-run cannabis retail store was approved unanimously by council after a period of public consultation.