Cowichan Tribes’ Chief William Seymour. (File photo)

Cannabis conundrum: Dueling dealers eye Vancouver Island shopping centre

Cowichan Tribes threatening to pull Costa Canna application if provincial store gets green light to set up

Cowichan Tribes is threatening to pull it’s Costa Canna cannabis store from the Cowichan Commons shopping centre if the municipality allows the provincial government to set up a B.C. Cannabis store there, too.

On Aug. 21, North Cowichan council gave third reading to both the applications from the province and from Cowichan Tribes but given both locations are within 800 metres from a provincial highway, approval from the provincial government’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was required for both applications to proceed any further.

SEE RELATED: Cowichan Tribes fears favouritism holding up pot shop applications

SEE RELATED: Government pot store for Cowichan Commons headed to public hearing

SEE RELATED: North Cowichan considers two applications for pot shops in shopping centre

“We sent both the applications to MOTI for their approval and MOTI has now come back and said yes to both,” North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring has confirmed.

“However in the meantime, we received a letter from Chief [William] Seymour… last week, asking us to reconsider the approval for the provincial one essentially saying ‘look, if you approve the provincial one we’re not interested. We’re pulling out because we don’t think we can compete with them because they have a price advantage, they’ve got the monopoly on online sales’ etc., and also referencing our strategic plan which talks about government-to-government relations.”

Chief Seymour confirmed Siebring’s interpretation of the letter.

“We’re asking for fairness,” Seymour said on Tuesday. “We feel we can’t compete against the province. The way they’ve got the process set up, they’ve created a monoploy for themselves.”

Seymour said Tribes has been waiting “months and months and months” for a licence and the province doesn’t have to jump through the same hoops.

“They set the prices so they can tell us what the prices are going to be. They don’t have to follow those same policies. They can sell at a lower price than we can,” Seymour said.

“Nobody in B.C. as far as I know has been approved,” he added. “Only provincial shops are opening up. In our letter to North Cowichan, we said if they’re going to approve both, then we’re going to pull our application because we can’t compete with them. We’re too small.”

On the basis of that letter the North Cowichan mayor exercised his mayoral authority to order council to reconsider the approval of third reading for the provincial application.

The issue is on North Cowichan’s Sept. 4 council agenda.

“Council will have to look at it again,” Siebring said. “If on reconsideration council decides to take into account the concerns of the chief and turn down the provincial application then we don’t go to adoption on that.”

But, if council decides to stay the course and pass third reading and move on to adopt both applications, “then we’ll see what happens,” Siebring added.

The irony, said the mayor, is that the province doesn’t need North Cowichan’s permission to proceed with a B.C. Cannabis store.

“Even if we turn them down…they override our land use rules with their authority so the fact that they came to us and asked is a formality,” he said.

To proceed without North Cowichan’s blessing “would be a political call on the part of the province,” Siebring noted. “I don’t know whether they would do that or not.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

More people are being evicted from subsidized housing in Victoria, experts say

Closing of Pacifica Housing’s Fairfield Hotel a sign of ongoing trends

Holiday Country Grocer campaign returns to make children’s dreams come true

Proceeds from campaign go towards Help Fill A Dream foundation

Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition and Bike to Work Society merge

The new organization plans a full roll out in spring 2020

Both sides in Saanich School District strike question calls for mediation

Sidney council has called on the province to appoint a mediator

Saanich councillor assures residents they won’t pay twice for Kings Park

Capital Regional District set to discuss potential for funding Saanich park

VIDEO: Disney Plus adds disclaimer about racist stereotypes

Disney’s disclaimer is a good way to begin discussion about the larger issue of racism

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

B.C. woman seeks return of jewelry box containing father’s cremated remains

Sicamous RCMP report handmade box was stolen from a storage locker

Vancouver police officer charged with sexual assault in apparent off-duty incident

Jagraj Roger Berar, 51, of Surrey, charged in incident alleged to have happened in Whistler

Sooke hosts forum to get input from people with disabilities

The province has multiple avenues for input

CN Rail confirms job cuts as weakening economy cuts into freight volumes

Railroad also said it was affected by a slowdown in the B.C.’s forestry sector

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Sooke nativity display back for second year

More than 400 versions of the nativity are at heart of show

Most Read