The new joint in town: A pot shop on Dorman Road is a step closer to reality after council voted unanimously to grant the Happy Isle Cannabis Company a temporary use permit for their store.
The municipality sought community input on the presence of a pot shop on Dorman Road through a flyer campaign (some islanders received three or four flyers.) The majority of respondents supported the store, some citing the potential business, tourism and health benefits of having such a store. Concerns about the shop included worries about the smoke affecting local residents, the potential for substance abuse and the potential health hazards, especially for youth.
Earlier this year, council amended Bowen’s Land Use Bylaw (which regulates land, building and structure use) to prohibit the growing and selling of cannabis on Bowen, with the understanding that anyone who wished to undertake these commercial ventures would either have to ask for a temporary use permit or apply for rezoning. The Happy Isle Cannabis Company is the first applicant for such an endeavour.
Council is also recommending that the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch issue the store a licence (municipal consent is required to proceed with licensing.) Council suggested that the provincial licence include a requirement that the shop post no smoking signs outside of the store to discourage consumption in the vicinity.
Happy Isle’s co-owner, Glenn Cormier (who also owns the Bowen Pub) says that they’ve made it through most of the process and the next step after this council meeting will be the province granting “conditional approval” for the store.
Cormier says that he’s expecting the shop to open sometime in early 2019.
Regulating manners: The days of parking in the ferry lineup and running into the Snug for a quick coffee and then driving off to the day’s next errand could be drawing to a close. A bylaw regulating parking in the ferry lineup came before council Monday. The regulations would include that that traffic may only enter the lineup for the purpose of boarding the next sailing and must enter behind the last vehicle in line. The bylaw is to address line jumping, an issue that comes to a head during the summer’s seasonal overloads.
Councillor Alison Morse said to council that she doesn’t support the bylaw as you can’t regulate good behaviour.
“This thing is a big waste of time and money,” she said. “I don’t think it’s worth our time and effort.”
Councillor Maureen Nicholson argued that the community has been calling for something to be done.
“If we’re not going to address it who would?” She said.
First reading of the bylaw has been deferred to a future council meeting.
At least they’re not being koi: BIM staff will be looking into any regulatory authority the municipality may have in managing invasive animal species such as racoons and skunks. Councillors for the most part weren’t optimistic that they could do much as wildlife management is provincial jurisdiction.
Councillor and Islands Trustee Sue Ellen Fast noted that many nearby municipalities are dealing with similar wildlife issues to Bowen (racoons killing chickens and fowl, rabbits killing gardens, deer overpopulation) but have little power to do anything about it.
Mayor Gary Ander said part of the message needs to be cohabitate.
“Just be grateful we don’t have koi and an otter,” said Nicholson, referring to the mustelid that’s been snacking on prize koi in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver.
Looks like a taxing process: The Island’s Trust’s executive committee will be discussing Bowen’s financial contribution to the federation in a future meeting.
In 2017, Bowen paid $242,048 to the Islands Trust (to Metro Vancouver Bowen paid $86,550.)
Fast, who sits on the trust’s executive committee explained that reducing Bowen’s contribution isn’t straightforward.
“There’s a calculation, an equation for how to figure out the contribution, that’s actually in the legislation,” she said. But their plan is to look at if there are different ways of manipulating the factors in the equation, especially since Bowen’s tax assessment values have been rising faster than on other islands.