The Town of O’Leary has broken ground on the future home of its first legal cannabis store.
Construction of a 1,200-square foot building, located at 478 Main Street, got underway earlier this week. The work is expected to be completed within seven weeks.
The town is footing the cost of construction and has secured a long-term lease agreement with the P.E.I. government, which will own and operate the cannabis store through The Prince Edward Island Cannabis Management Corporation.
O’Leary Mayor Eric Gavin welcomed the start of construction.
Gavin expects the business to be a boon for the municipality and local businesses.
“I think that you’ll see more traffic flow … the biggest goal here is to get the people into town. The more people you get in here, the more money they spend into the economy,” said Gavin.
He adding that it has been a long road for the town to get to this point.
The community originally started pursuing this course of action more than a year ago.
Originally, the town had planned to build a 18,000-square foot strip mall to house the cannabis store and other businesses, but that plan was eventually scaled back to the stand-alone store now under construction.
The town is still open to having conversation with businesses who might need commercial space and who are willing to locate in O’Leary, added Gavin, but the strip mall idea the town originally pursued is not part of their future plans for the cannabis store location.
Construction of the store is expected to cost the town a little more than $300,000.
Cannabis is set to become legal in Canada on Oct. 17.
So far, Summerside, Charlottetown, Montague and O’Leary have been chosen to house one cannabis store each.