Cindy Pendergast of Happy Buddha, here seen with her business partner Brad Styles in December 2019, said the entrepreneurs are trying to find a settlement with the Town of Sidney before a court hearing next month. Pendergast filed a legal challenge against Sidney, after the town had denied an application from her and Styles to open what would be Sidney’s first pot shop in the 2400 block of Beacon Avenue (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Legal fight over proposed Sidney pot shop pushed into February

Applicant says Happy Buddha application ready to licence if Sidney comes back to the table

The court case between the Town of Sidney and a duo of entrepreneurs looking to open the first recreational marijuana retail store in the community won’t get underway until next month.

“Yes, the hearing has been pushed back to some time in mid-February,” confirmed Randy Humble, Sidney’s chief administrative officer.

Cindy Pendergast launched the legal challenge against Sidney after the town denied her application, along with business partner Brad Styles, to open what would have been Sidney’s first pot shop. They applied to open in the 2400-block of Beacon Avenue, Sidney’s premiere shopping street.

Pendergast challenged the 4-3 vote against the application in early December with a hearing scheduled for the week of Jan. 13. But heavy snowfall that week delayed the hearing to the week of Feb. 18.

RELATED: Beacon Avenue pot shop dispute heading to court

The fate of the application hinged on reconciling two contrary requirements. While the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCRB) requires opaque window coverings, Sidney’s development permit guidelines require active – transparent – windows for Beacon Avenue, a point noted by councillors, who voted against the shop.

“This is about the look of downtown Beacon Avenue [as] an active and vibrant storefront,” said Coun. Barbara Fallot at the time. “I appreciate wholeheartedly your efforts to create a green wall in the window. Unfortunately, what I see is still a static display. It is not an active display.”

RELATED: Hopeful Sidney pot shop owner challenges town in court after application denied

Pendergast’s lawyer told the Peninsula News Review late last year that Sidney cannot require Pendergast to do something that is against provincial law. “A municipal government cannot require what a provincial government prohibits,” said John Alexander of Cox Taylor Lawyers in Victoria, at the time. “Provincial law trumps local municipal law.”

Pendergast has since told the Peninsula News Review that the LCRB has deemed the application what she described as “fit and proper,” a designation that verifies Happy Buddha, the proposed name of the store, as 100 per cent ready to receive its licence — “if we can get Sidney back to the table.”

RELATED: UPDATED: Helijet cancels flights, campuses close as more snow expected for Greater Victoria


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