Council moved towards banning new pharmacies from the downtown core with the passing of first and second reading of a text amendment to the zoning bylaw Tuesday night.
The rezoning application amendment to remove “pharmacy” and medical clinic” from the core commercial downtown one zone (CCD1) now heads to a public hearing June 25.
“Revitalization of downtown is a major issue we idenified in our core review of what we wanted to do,” said Mayor Ted Adlem, in a move that would appear to block the application of a proposed pharmacy at the site of the old community policing centre on First Avenue.
But the applicants of Life Pharmacy Inc., who were present at the council meeting, seemed baffled as to the decision.
Speaking to The Record, pharmacist Nanda Sanbandma, said they believe an unfounded rumour they would be dispensing marijuana is responsible for the decision.
He said the application is for a walk-in clinic and pharmacy, providing vaccines, a diabetes clinic, heart clinic, and prescription drugs, including methadone.
The location is optimal for would-be customers, since other pharmacies are far from one another, he added.
He said they will now be forced to pursue a legal remedy, though they would not elaborate on what that meant.
Council, meanwhile, indicated support for a public hearing to decide whether the ban would ultimately be supported by residents.
“I think this is an issue we’ll hear clearly from the public on,” said Coun. Dave Hensman.