Brad Styles and Cindy Pendergast of Happy Buddha Cannabis have reason to smile after the provincial government dropped the requirement for non-transparent windows. Sidney last October denied their application for what would have been Sidney’s first pot shop because the then existing provincial regulations requiring opaque window coverings conflicted with municipal regulations. (Wolf Depner/News Staff).

Brad Styles and Cindy Pendergast of Happy Buddha Cannabis have reason to smile after the provincial government dropped the requirement for non-transparent windows. Sidney last October denied their application for what would have been Sidney’s first pot shop because the then existing provincial regulations requiring opaque window coverings conflicted with municipal regulations. (Wolf Depner/News Staff).

Plans for pot shop in Sidney spark back to life

Changing provincial regulations could clear the way for Sidney’s first ever pot shop

Denied plans for potentially Sidney’s first pot shop on Beacon Avenue flamed back to life after the provincial government dropped the requirement for non-transparent retail windows.

In October 2019, Sidney council denied plans by Cindy Pendergast and Brad Styles to open Happy Buddha Cannabis in the 2400-block of Beacon Avenue by a vote of 4-3 with opponents pointing to the municipality’s requirement for transparent windows on Beacon Avenue among other reasons.

This requirement was not reconcilable with requirements from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCRB) for opaque window coverings — that is until late last month when the province dropped that requirement.

RELATED: B.C. requires liquor-style “selling it right” course for cannabis retailers

RELATED: Sidney’s first-ever pot store application flames out before council

Pendergast said the provincial decision has her and Styles elated. “My gosh, we are doing jumping jacks over here,” she said.

According to Pendergast, the new rule came into effect the moment the province announced it, adding the LCRB has already approved a revised design, a pre-condition for Pendergast and Styles to resubmit their application to Sidney.

The provincial announcement comes against the backdrop of a legal dispute between the Town of Sidney and Pendergast and Styles over the denied application with Pendergast’s lawyer arguing provincial law trumps municipal law.

“A municipal government cannot require what a provincial government prohibits,” John Alexander of Cox Taylor Lawyers in Victoria said last year.

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

RELATED: Beacon Avenue pot shop dispute heading to court

While both sides wait for a ruling after the case worked its way through the system in late winter and early spring, the change in provincial regulation would likely render any decision moot, said Alexander.

“So we are just trying to find out from the Town of Sidney, whether they are going to look again at this application under the new regulations,” he said. “If they will, then we can let the court know that we don’t need the court to make any decision. If they won’t, then perhaps the parties are still going to end up having to have some matters resolved in court.”

Happy Buddha hopes that Sidney council will reconsider the application under the new regulation, said Alexander. “And that it will be approved and that would be the end of any potential dispute.”

It is not clear yet if and when that might be the case, with provincial approval for the new window design being a precondition for any resubmission to the municipality. Pendergast could not give any exact figure about when Happy Buddha might be in business.

“So many variables have to be determined that I’m unable to say that with any certainty,” she said. “What I would say though is that we are very hopeful that we can finally reach an agreement that makes all of us happy — the province, the Town, and of course us. I will say that we are hopeful that it will happen soon.”

Paula Kully, Sidney’s communication coordinator, said the municipality appreciates the LCRB’s “clarification” of its policy concerning retail cannabis storefronts. “It will help in assessing future applications under what is still a very new process,” she said.

The municipality also declined to comment on the status of the legal dispute while the case is active.

The provincial ruling could also have broader implications for cannabis retail in Sidney.

While current zoning permits cannabis retail on Beacon Avenue, council earlier instructed staff to bring forward a zoning amendment to remove cannabis retail from Beacon Avenue, said Corey Newcomb, Sidney’s senior manager of long range planning. “This resolution will also be reviewed in light of the recent LCRB policy change,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Greater Victoria’s Coldest Night walks go virtual this year on Feb. 20. (Photo courtesy Our Place Society)
Our Place neighbourhood walks raise money for Greater Victoria homeless

2021 Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser goes virtual

(Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay fire reach ‘modern’ service agreement

Negotiations to update 1980 firefighting agreement began in 2015, stalled in 2020

Members of the Saanich Fire Department can be seen working to put out a fire in the 4500-block of Chattertown Way on Jan. 26. (Saanich Fire/Twitter)
UPDATED: One cat killed, another resuscitated following blaze in Saanich townhouse

Neighbours evacuated following fire on Chatterton Way, third cat still missing

Air Canada /Jazz flight 8081 from Vancouver to Victoria on Jan. 22 had a confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Five big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19:

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Christopher Anthony Craig Dick is wanted by the Port Alberni RCMP in connection to multiple investigations. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Vancouver Island RCMP seek man connected to assault investigations

Christopher Dick, 36, was recently in the North Cowichan and Duncan region

Vernon has agreed to a goose cull to control the over-populated invasive species making a muck of area parks and beaches. (Morning Star file photo)
Okanagan city pulls the trigger on goose cull

City asking neighbours to also help control over-population of geese

Tahsis mayor Martin Davis stands with an old-growth tree in McKelvie Creek Valley. The village of Tahsis signed a Letter of Understanding with forestry company Western Forest Products to establish McKelvie watershed as a protected area. Photo courtesy, TJ Watt.
Landmark deal expected to protect Tahsis watershed from logging

Tahsis and WFP agree on letter of understanding to preserve McKelvie Creek Valley within TFL 19

Most Read