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

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

Just Posted

Centre withdraws from cell tower project in Qualicum Beach

TELUS plans to continue to look at plans to improve cellphone reception in the area

Qualicum Beach council voices support for Ballenas track upgrade

Town still not ready to provide dollar amount without further information

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in a ditch in Coombs

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

RDN budget includes unexpected $1.5 million for sewer pipe replacement

Pipe corrosion at Departure Bay discovered in December

People tab ‘Roaring ’20s’ as theme for Parksville sand sculpting competition

‘Topsy Turvy’ and ‘Celebrate!’ also considered for 2020 beach festival event

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at Nanaimo high school following threats

Nearby elementary school was in hold-and-secure

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Suspect steals seaplane, crashes into another in Vancouver habour

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Most Read