As council members prepare to decide whether to give the green light to a recreational cannabis store in Burns Lake, they have three opposition letters to take into consideration.
MOJO Cannabis, owned by a father and son partnership in the Central Okanagan, has submitted an application to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to obtain a licence to open a non-medical retail store inside the Lakeview Mall.
As part of the application process, the company needs the endorsement of the Village of Burns Lake.
The three opposition letters — one of which is from Burns Lake Band Chief Dan George — were read aloud during a public hearing last week.
“I am in full support of a cannabis retail in Burns Lake but do not feel the Lakeview Mall is a suitable location for this venture,” wrote Chief George. “The mall sees many families daily, not only for shopping but for gathering over a meal and a number of community events. The store should be safely away from local gathering areas.”
According to MOJO Cannabis’ business disclosure, smoking or other cannabis consumption methods will not be tolerated within or near the store.
“No-smoking signs will be posted and strictly enforced,” the company stated, adding staff will be trained to provide education to customers on the responsible use of cannabis products.
The owners of China Moon Restaurant, located inside the mall, have also expressed their opposition.
“We feel that the Lakeview Mall is not the location for a cannabis store,” the restaurant owners wrote to council. “We are worried this may affect our business … We do not want our customers and their children to be exposed to cannabis.”
According to MOJO Cannabis, the company will consult with a mechanical engineer to ensure a professionally-designed and inspected ventilation system to prevent odours wafting within and outside of the store.
“We have contracted various design consultants to help us portray our brand and physical locations in a positive and aesthetically pleasing manner,” stated the company in their business disclosure, adding the windows will be treated in an attractive way, ensuring views into stores are restricted.
Another letter signed by nine people who are also hoping to open a cannabis store in Burns Lake — Dallas (Sam) Nikal, Kimberly Sam, Cassandra Sam, Reagan Sam, Tyler Sam, Corrine Swenson, Josh Swenson, Brendan Swenson and Jaden Swenson — urged council to prioritize locally-owned businesses.
Their proposed store, located at the former KFC location, is called Crossroads Cannabis. A licence application has already been submitted to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, they said.
“Obviously we are competition for the out-of-town applicants wanting to set up at the Lakeview Mall … We want to earn our living in Burns Lake and ensure our money stays here,” they wrote, adding their families have been in the area for over 40 years.
In their business disclosure, MOJO Cannabis states they will focus on “education, safe consumption and community development.”
Burns Lake council is expected decide whether to support their application on March 3.
Sheryl Worthing, the village’s chief administrative officer, said Burns Lake can have up to two cannabis stores.