By ROY WOOD
The number of cannabis retailing hopefuls working their way through the approval process was reduced from five to four this afternoon as Osoyoos council voted to discontinue consideration of the Owl Pub’s application over pedestrian safety concerns.
The proposed would have seen a cannabis retail outlet at the rear of the north end of the Owl Pub and Liquor Store complex.
A number of concerns emerged regarding customer access to the new store, parking for clientele and safety concerns for pedestrians because the area near the store is used as a loading dock for the pub and the liquor store.
Following the March 18 council meeting, at which council expressed concern about the parking and pedestrian/delivery truck conflicts, the applicant responding by offering to:
- Reopen an adjacent under-building parking area and to provide better lighting and video surveillance for the area;
- Paint a crosswalk to direct customers to the pot store while ensuring that trucks wouldn’t be backing up while customers are in the area; and
- Ensure that delivery vehicles back up far enough so as not to block the public sidewalk.
The assurances weren’t enough for council, however, and it voted to abandon the rezoning bylaw that would have seen the proposal continue to the provincial approval stage.
“Safety is paramount,” said Mayor Sue McKortoff. “We could be in for some real problems.”
Councillor CJ Rhodes said he met with the applicant and was impressed. “It seems to be a case of the right people at the wrong location,” he said.
Meanwhile, the re-zoning application for a cannabis store at the Gateway Square shopping centre next to the Dollar Store breezed through third reading with nary a negative word.
The applicant will now seek first-stage licence approval from the province, after which it will come back to the town for bylaw adoption.