City council is being asked to reconsider its flat-out rejection of a proposed cannabis retail store in the Promontory neighbourhood before it even got to public hearing.
At the May 7 meeting, in a highly unusual move, council unanimously voted to defeat the proposal to rezone a property in the Promontory Hillside Plaza at first reading.
The application put forth by Rick Toor asked to rezone the property from local commercial (C2) to cannabis retail (C9) to allow for what would have been the second cannabis retail approval.
The first approval came for a portion of the SureStay Hotel by Best Western on Industrial Way.
That location was approved after a public hearing. Even outspoken anti-drug council member Coun. Bud Mercer, a former RCMP assistant commissioner, was OK with Industrial Way.
“Given my background, and outspoken dislike for drugs, I guess would be a good way to put it, I’m personally not for any of this, for the record,” Coun. Mercer said after the hearing in April. “But our government has made a decision to legalize it and if it is going to be in Chilliwack, this is a good location for it.”
No one on council, however, liked the Promontory location on Teskey Way.
Mercer suggested that having drugs for sale on a “hugely busy street corner” of Promontory, near the only convenience story where kids go was “wrong” and that he didn’t “support it whatsoever.”
Defeating a rezoning application before a public hearing is highly unusual. Normal process is that city council gives an application first and second reading and calls a public hearing for the next meeting. After that public hearing, there is usually debate followed by council voting for or against the application after hearing neighbourhood comments.
The Promontory proposal never got off the ground, something that surprised the applicant. Toor is scheduled to be in attendance at the May 21 meeting at 3 p.m. as a delegation to request council reconsider his application.
As per procedure, city council may reconsider a bylaw as long as a motion to abandon has not been passed and a motion to reconsider is passed by two thirds of the members of council present.
If the reconsideration request is defeated on May 21, the bylaw is considered rejected and abandoned.
– with files from Jennifer Feinberg