This map shows the proposed location of the pot shop that the City of Victoria denied last week. If it had gone to public hearing and received approval, it would have been right at the border with Saanich.

This map shows the proposed location of the pot shop that the City of Victoria denied last week. If it had gone to public hearing and received approval, it would have been right at the border with Saanich.

Victoria denies potshop on Saanich border

Plans for a pot shop on Saanich’s border have gone up in smoke after Victoria denied proponents a public hearing.

The proposed shop would have been located on the corner of Tolmie Avenue and Quadra Street, and Saanich residents living within 100 metres of the proposed site would have received public hearing notices under Victoria’s procedures. Victoria staff had recommended a public hearing, because the applicant had met Victoria’s guidelines for pot shops.

“If the application had been moved through to public hearing, Saanich [council] may well have had additional interest as well as local residents,” said Megan Catalano, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich.

But since the application did not go forward, Saanich has declined to publicly comment on the issue. “Saanich staff don’t have a reaction on Victoria council’s decision,” said Catalano.

Saanich – contrary to Victoria – does not license pot shops. But if the application by G.S. Pharmaceuticals had gone forward and received approval, it would have been at least the fourth shop of its kind within the proximity of the Saanich-Victoria border.

While Victoria council ultimately denied the application on grounds of the proposed shop’s proximity to Quadra elementary school following a letter from its parents advisory council, at least one Victoria councillor suggested that its proximity to Saanich played a role.

“Have we talked to Saanich?” asked Coun. Chris Coleman in framing the issue as a question of neighbourliness. “Do we do that? It is an unusual item from that perspective.”

Victoria council also broadly agreed that Saanich should have received notification of the proposal had it gone forward, with the proviso that such a notification should not have included an invitation to respond.

Coun. Geoff Young said it would not be appropriate for Victoria to seek comment from Saanich.

“As a district, they have made a decision,” he said. “They are not supportive of our policy, and I think it is a little hypocritical for us to be asking for them to respond on an issue, when we are already aware of this contradiction.”

Three cannabis retailers currently operate within walking distance from Saanich’s border. Farmacy operates near the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Shelbourne Street, while Trees Dispensary operates near Tolmie Avenue and Douglas Street. Burnside Dispensary, meanwhile, operates at the intersection of Harriet Road and Burnside Road, with the Saanich border just steps away.

Catalano said Saanich neither sought nor offered input of any kind about the failed pot shop proposal, adding Victoria did not solicit input from Saanich as the application was working its way through. Victoria and Saanich have also not communicated about the Burnside Dispensary.

Catalano said Saanich recognizes that Victoria has taken a “different policy approach” to the regulation of marijuana retail.

“Because our municipalities border each other this means that at times there may be conflicting direction taken,” she said. “At this time Saanich awaits clear policy direction from the provincial government on marijuana retailing framework in B.C. leading up to legalization in the province.

Once the provincial government has supplied this framework, Saanich would implement a regulatory and policy framework that aligns with provincial direction and continues to best represent the interests of the residents of Saanich, she said.

Some of those answers have started to arrive, after the provincial government announced that both private and public retailers will sell maijuana, with anyone older than 19 years able to purchase it legally.

The federal government, meanwhile, has announced that the provinces stand to reap 75 per cent of marijuana revenues.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read