The City of Prince Rupert adopted a zone where cannabis retail stores can operate. (Photo by the City of Prince Rupert)

Prince Rupert draws its line for cannabis business

City council approved cannabis retail zone area on Dec. 10 after a public hearing

The lines governing where cannabis can be sold legally in Prince Rupert have been drawn, but not all residents are happy about it.

That was the sentiment both during and after the public and regular city council meeting on Dec. 10 at city hall.

The meeting was the last opportunity for residents to voice their opinions on zoning bylaw no. 3430, 2018, which outlined the designated area where retail cannabis businesses can operate.

The originally proposed zone was made up of a large section of Prince Rupert’s downtown, which stretches roughly from Second Avenue West to Cow Bay. A recent change in the proposed zoning bylaw expanded that zone to include the area surrounding the Five Corners intersection at 1100 Park Avenue.

READ MORE: Council tends to weed business growth in Prince Rupert

The bylaw makes it possible for a cannabis retail store to be opened within the zone. However, the business will still have to receive approval by the city, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch and receive permission from the property owner.

At the beginning of the public hearing, city planner Zeno Krekic gave a summary of the bylaw and its implications. Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain then opened the floor to comments from the public.

Terry Sawka, who said he has lived on Park Avenue since 1964 and owns property in the area, said he was in opposition to allowing a store to operate within the Five Corners.

“I think creating another outlet is just going to create more problems,” he said. “The way this is designed here, the property I currently own is almost kitty-corner across the street from it, and I have serious issues. If I were to sell my property there’s a possibility that the value of my property will diminish because I have people selling pot across the street.”

John Marogna echoed Sawka’s sentiment when he spoke and questioned why he had not been informed by council about the proposed zoning amendments, instead having to find out through the Northern View newspaper.

“I own three quarters of the property that you’d like to change,” he said. “Did any of you guys ask me if it was okay to do it?

“I am against any drugs. I do not like drugs, I never had one single drug in my life. Whether you like it or not a drug is a drug is a drug. Not on my property.”

Not all of the public feedback was against the amendment changes. Dustin Woodman said he didn’t think negative judgments about the sale of cannabis were appropriate if it has been legalized and potential businesses have gone through the required legal processes.

“People are trying hard to start things in this town and we can’t be making moral judgments about whether we think it’s good or bad,” he said. “…I live in the area, I’ll be living in the area for probably the rest of my life and I see this as being beneficial and I see this as being a way that Rupert grows.”

Once the public had been given an opportunity to finish making their comments, the public meeting was closed. Later, during the regular meeting, council voted unanimously to give a third reading to the bylaw amendment and adopted it.

After the regular council meeting, Sawka and Marogna both stayed behind to voice their displeasure at council’s decision to go ahead with the amendment. Speaking primarily with councillors Wade Neish and Blair Mirau, both Sawka and Marogna continued to raise objections to allowing potential cannabis retail stores to be opened at Five Corners for more than 30 minutes.

“I think city is definitely more interested in getting revenue than cooperating with the owners,” Marogna said, outside city hall after the meeting finished.

Neish, who spoke with both Marogna and Sawka after the meeting, said that council had received feedback from the police, city staff, firefighters and other members of the community during the consultation process.

“I used a whole bunch of information to make that decision, it wasn’t just based on what one person has to say,” he said.

READ MORE: Council votes to expand proposed retail cannabis zone in Prince Rupert



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cats of Third Avenue fire are safe and sound

Boris, Ben, Boomboom, and Bella were found two days after their home was set ablaze

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church hosting second flea market for Prince Rupert community

Prince Rupert community members are welcome to come browse or donate stuff for sale

Rushbrook Trail receives its annual spring spruce up

Kaien Island Trail Soceity and volunteers are keeping Prince Rupert’s trails clean

Prince Rupert school board meeting briefs: PRMS construction top priority

School District 52 seeks to replace Prince Rupert Middle School and Conrad Elementary

Baby birds hatched at Pembina worksite, construction halted temporarily

Bird nest sighting by the wharf on Watson Island, Prince Rupert

First ever Nisga’a mortuary totem pole unveiled in Prince Rupert cemetery on Father’s Day weekend

The pole was unveiled at Fairview Cemetery in honour of the late Robert Tait, renowned carver

WEB POLL: Would you like to see another mural go up where Zorba’s Taverna’s old one used to be?

The iconic quirky mural from Prince Rupert’s Greek restaurant was painted over this week

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Give Hope Wings fundraiser launches Saturday from Pitt Meadows

Flying marathon will benefit low income Canadians needing flights for medical treatment

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read