Gas station and cannabis retail location proposed

Plans for the lot at 1235 Alpine Rd.

Updated Feb. 25: 

Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR) and A&T Project Developments Ltd. have responded to request for comment from SPIN.

Darcy Alexander, SPR general manager, said the resort is not involved with the businesses which will operate on the lot.

“SPR does not plan to be involved in the development or operations of the facilities beyond land sale.”

SPR has applied for rezoning and if granted the lot will be purchased and developed by A&T.

Frank Quinn of A&T said they’re not interested in the operation of either business on the site.

“Neither A&T nor its principals have any interest whatsoever in the ownership or operation of any potential marijuana dispensary on this site,” he said. “We are acting solely in a capacity as developer and builder and are applying to rezone for the possibility of that use and gas station use by a third party or parties.

“If the zoning is granted then those parties will independently apply to both the province and the municipality for licensing and may or may not be successful in obtaining that licensing.”

Quinn added the public will also give input.

“There will be a very meaningful discussion, I’m sure, in the public hearing process.”

For the first time since federal legalization in October 2018 a proposal which includes a cannabis retail store is coming before Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) council.

During a Feb. 19 regular council meeting a rezoning application was given first reading.

The applicant asked SPMRM to rezone a lot at 1235 Alpine Rd., at the corner of Alpine Road and Sun Peaks Road, from leisure recreation site to commercial service station with a site specific amendment which would allow retail sale of cannabis in a second building on the property. The lot is currently owned by Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR).

The development plans included with the application indicate a gas station with convenience store on the west end of the lot and the cannabis retail store just north-east.

In the Official Community Plan (OCP) the lot is designated as general commercial, the only lot with such designation within the resort.

SPMRM staff wrote in the report to council the proposed zoning and use is consistent with the OCP.

“It is a policy of Council to support uses such as gas stations and convenience stores in areas designated General Commercial and to encourage the development of general commercial uses that support the permanent population of Sun Peaks,” read the report.

Despite being aligned with the OCP, some concerns were presented by affected parties, though none related to the cannabis retail aspect aside from the anticipated increased traffic in the area.

Plans for the interior of the cannabis retail store.

Utilities, building inspection, Sun Peaks Fire Rescue (SPFR) and public works all expressed concerns regarding traffic in the area. Public works reported there are seven access points within a small area and that section of Sun Peaks Road is already “a notable traffic problem area.”

While a statutory right of way exists to allow cars to access staff accommodation, submitted plans raised concerns from Councillors Darcy Alexander and Ines Popig and Mayor Al Raine about the number of vehicles which need to cross the property and how to arrange the lot to allow the best movement.

Councillor Mario Pozza also questioned the layout of the lot and wondered about snow removal and deposition and a set back for snow clearing on Alpine Road as submitted plans appear to show buildings close to the property line.

SPFR’s interest in being able to exit their lot effectively in case of emergency was addressed by Raine who said they could consider adding lights on Sun Peaks Road which would flash to alert drivers when fire apparatus leave the hall.

The property is not currently serviced by water, wastewater or gas utilities and SPMRM utilities requested a servicing plan be drafted and approved along with designs for a fuel supply facility.

They also asked for assurance from the applicant there is protection from materials or fuel entering the wastewater or stormwater collection system.

Raine discussed the need for a bigger picture view of the lot and surrounding area to understand traffic and pedestrian flows before the amendment is presented at a public hearing.

“I’d like to see SPR (Sun Peaks Resort) staff work with municipal staff for traffic and pedestrian flows,” he said. “We need to have a good grasp of traffic flows…we need to get the right information and have it all right before a public hearing.

“I don’t want to be critical but it looks like this was rushed a bit.”

SPMRM will request further information from the applicant before a second reading. After second reading the amendment would go to public hearing. If approved the applicant will also be required to apply to the provincial government regarding retail cannabis with proof it’s a use allowed by SPMRM.