Dollar Store elbows out BC Cannabis Store

Published on December 5, 2020 by The Daily Courier

BC politicians tour the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops in 2018.

By Barb Aguiar

Plans for a government-owned cannabis retail store in West Kelowna appear to have gone up in smoke.

Despite a late application last January from the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, which operates BC Cannabis Stores, West Kelowna council approved it for 23 – 2475 Dobbin Rd. in the Westbank Towne Centre.

The store was to have been a regional office for BC Cannabis Stores in the Okanagan and provide about 20 unionized jobs.

The Urban Dollar Store Plus in that location closed at the end of June to make way for the new cannabis store.

However, a Your Dollar Store with More opened Oct. 1 in the Urban Dollar Store’s former location.

Corey Steele, the franchise owner of the West Kelowna Your Dollar Store, indicated the deal with BC Cannabis Stores had fallen through.

“LDB has revised its plans for the BC Cannabis Store in West Kelowna and won’t be entering the space now occupied by the dollar store,” wrote Viviana Zanocco with the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch in an email.

Zanocco could not comment on why the plans changed or whether the Liquor Distribution Branch was looking at another West Kelowna location.

The West Kelowna store location was not without controversy as the public hearing brought forward concerns the government-run pot store would take away from the competitive advantage of prior applicants who had made their business decisions based on one or two locations in that area.

Others opposed the West Kelowna’s BC Cannabis Store’s proximity to George Pringle Elementary School.

West Kelowna has five privately owned recreational cannabis shops open.

Zanocco wrote the Liquor Distribution Branch did not currently have a tentative opening date for the BC Cannabis Store to be located at 1640 Leckie Rd. in Kelowna.

There are already BC Cannabis Store locations open in Vernon and Penticton.