A public hearing on a proposed recreational cannabis shop in the Regional District of East Kootenay passed quietly on Wednesday, January 30th.
“No cheering or jeering… and preferably no eye rolling,” Area F Director Susan Clovechok told the audience of 11 at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, which included the proponent Ryan Haynes and his development consultant Richard Haworth.
Mr. Haworth gave a brief presentation, where he said the proposed shop for 4884 Athalmer Road –where Bavin Glassworks used to be – fits with the Official Community Plan and that he believes “it’s the best location in the Windermere area.”
Three members of the audience also shared their thoughts on the proposed shop. The first participant declared: “I just say hallelujah. It’s about time.”
The second was concerned about smoking in general but said he wasn’t otherwise opposed to the shop.
The final participant to voice an opinion said: “If we gotta put it somewhere, it’s the best location,” adding that the proposed area “is not in your face” and is a good fit since it’s set back from the main drag in a fully-commercial area that isn’t typically frequented by children.
Before the hearing, Mr. Haynes told the Pioneer that he operates a couple of liquor stores, including the Invermere Liquor Store.
“I’m definitely familiar with handling government-controlled taxed and regulated products so it can be sold from a safe, clean and welcoming environment,” he said.
He has no concerns with Blooming World Cannabis opening up a joint less than three kilometres down the road from his proposed shop and is full of praise for his competitors whom he expects will do well.
“I definitely think in the Valley, in the area, there definitely is room for two retail stores,” he said, adding that competition is always good for customers because it means there’s increased incentive for businesses to offer lower prices and top-notch service.
RDEK directors are expected to vote on whether to approve Mr. Haynes’ shop at their meeting on Friday, February 8th.