North Saanich cannabis store approved for Sandown property

The North Saanich council has approved a cannabis retail outlet to go in at Sandown Park.

A proposed cannabis retail store at North Saanich’s Sandown Park snuck through the district council on a narrow vote on June 3 after a last-minute vote switch by Coun. Jack McClintock.

Prior to the vote he expressed concern with the idea of “spot zoning,” in which a bylaw exception is granted for one location only, while the use remains prohibited in the rest of the district.

“Am I to understand any cannabis retailer would still have to come to council — this doesn’t give a blanket authorization to cannabis retail outlets?” McClintock asked.

After hearing a “yes” from district staff, McClintock said he had some “reconsiderations.”

The proposed shop is to be located in the new development at Sandown Park near the Canadian Tire. It needed council approval because North Saanich created a bylaw shortly before legalization in 2018 that prohibited cannabis retail sales.

This final vote follows a months-long process that included several rounds of public engagement and a public hearing on May 27. Though an online survey by the North Saanich Residents Association had turned up only marginal support for allowing the store, opposition at in-person sessions was minimal.

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