Nakusp council, November 9: Two more applications for cannabis shops

·4 min read

• Nakusp could potentially have three pot shops in the next few months. After changing Village bylaws to allow more than one store last month, council has received two applications for cannabis retail outlets.

But the public hearing on zoning for the first new shop, at 572 Highway 6 South, raised some concerns. Nakusp Fire Chief Terry Warren said the business location was at the crest of a hill, where driver visibility was severely limited. He said he knew first-hand of the danger there: his brother had been killed at that spot many years ago. Since that time there had been numerous other accidents and near-misses. With traffic pulling onto and off the highway, “it’s a very poor place” to have a business, he told council.

The owner of Nakusp’s current pot shop, which just opened a few months ago, also opposed the project. He said his business was established when council was supposed to only allow one retailer, and they should have a chance to get established before facing competition. He also said the highway shop would draw business away from downtown.

Council tabled the application until its next meeting, to give the applicant and Village staff time to address the issues raised.

The second application for a cannabis retailer, for 201 Broadway Street, moved smoothly to the next stage of its application. Council gave the preliminary first and second readings to the zoning change needed. The public will now get its chance to weigh in on the matter before council makes a final decision.

Both applications will come back before council in December.

• Christmas season won’t be getting its traditional kick-off this year in the village. The Christmas Light Up will go ahead on December 4, but Mayor Tom Zeldznik told council the parade and street party have been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“There’ll be no big bash this year,” he said, but hoped merchants will be able to arrange some special activities to encourage shopping downtown.

Street decorating will begin on November 27, however, and the public are welcome to come help.

• Concerns about the impact of automation on people have kiboshed plans for a high-tech recycling station in Nakusp. Encorp Pacific had asked council in October to allow one of their ‘Express & Go’ machines, a solar-powered, web-enabled, automated recycling station to be placed in Nakusp. Operating without staff, the company said the seacan-sized station “supports a growing need for innovative recycling infrastructure.”

But council was concerned about the impact on local community programs that employ people with diverse abilities. Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services hires several people to work at a human-scale recycling depot, and they told council the robo-recycling station would hurt the community.

The new system “would not only take away all these benefits and jobs from our crew, but also our little family we have built together since the launch of the program will feel like it has been torn apart,” wrote Christiana Samai, the social venture coordinator for ASLCS.

Council rejected the Express and Go application.

• Village staff are hoping the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s planning department can help them get through an avalanche of development applications. Staff are swamped with a huge increase in work, CAO Cheryl Martens told council, including a 10-lot subdivision development application – one of four subdivision applications, compared to none last year. Martens asked, and council agreed, to make a formal request for help from the RDCK. That will allow the regional government staff to review their workload and see if they have the capacity to take on the Village’s planning. The RDCK already provides building services to the village.

• The Village’s Public Art Committee wants you! Council is looking for two more people to join the six-person committee that plans and reviews public art installations in town. Kate Tupper and Betty Fahlman’s appointments to the board were confirmed at the council meeting, as were Councillors Susan DeSandoli and Aidan McLaren-Caux’s.

• Rats! Yes, they are in Nakusp. But CAO Martens says there’s no need to panic. Council will be sending a mailer out to all residents with tips and advice to getting rid of the pests – and how to prevent them from becoming an even bigger problem. The Village may also try to encourage the establishment of a ‘rat patrol’ like one that was set up in New Denver, to act as a strike force against the rodents.

“But it has to be an initiative of the community,” she told council. “Council doesn’t have the capacity to do that.”

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice