The province plans to open two cannabis retail stores in Nanaimo.
According to Lainya Rowett, city manager of current planning and subdivision, the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch has filed applications to create two stores, one at Country Club Centre and a second store in Woodgrove Crossing shopping plaza on Mary Ellen Drive.
The Country Club store, if approved, would be a new stand-alone building on the Island Highway side of the parking lot on the north side of the highway entrance next to Urban Barn.
The city is handling applications for government-run cannabis stores the same way it does for private retailers and the province will have to go through a several-months-long applications and approvals process before any building can get underway.
A cannabis retailer must meet City of Nanaimo zoning criteria before receiving approval from the city for a storefront.
Rowett said Nanaimo’s typical rezoning process takes at least seven months, although the types of land use changes for the two sites applied for are not as extensive as other kinds of rezoning applications the city deals with.
Only after rezoning has been approved and the store is issued a licence from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch will the city entertain the development permit application which takes about another 16 weeks to review.
The Woodgrove Crossing site is in an existing building at Woodgrove Crossing, which would be repurposed as a cannabis store and would likely open sooner than the Country Club outlet.
“That is an existing building, so they may have some tenant improvements … that are required and that might be a minor building permit, but that’s to be determined,” she said.