Despite a range of concerns voiced by neighbours, Coquitlam council unanimously approved a trio of new cannabis stores on Monday night.
That approval means Woody’s Pub will allocate a bit less space to their pub and a bit more space to a pot shop at the back of the building facing Roderick Avenue.
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Parent Tiffany Ho urged council to reject the proposal, explaining that her child attends a daycare about 60 metres from the store.
“I personally don’t think that having a cannabis store directly across from a daycare is very fitting,” she said, explaining her concerns for the health and safety of children in the daycare.
The pot shop is also within 104 metres of a film studio, language centre, music and art studio and a tutoring service – all of which cater to young people.
Explaining their recommendation to approve the Woody’s Pub pot shop, city staff noted the “commercial neighbourhood centre context of the area.”
Speaking on behalf of the applicant, former Liquor Control and Licensing Branch general manager Bert Hick lauded the track record of pub owner Gord Cartwright.
“He’s familiar with handling a controlled, regulated product,” Hick told council.
The cannabis shop is set to operate from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and to employ two full-time employees and eight part-time workers.
Council also approved a shop at the ground level of a forthcoming mixed-use highrise development at 512 Young Drive.
“As soon as the building is ready, our store will be ready to go on Day 1,” explained Seed and Stone founder Vikram Sachdeva.
Sachdeva touted his previous work with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.
“I’ve never been in the grey market or operated in the grey market at all,” he told council.
A nearby resident opposed the pot shop for reasons ranging from a potential burden on strata insurance to road safety to possible influence on neighbourhood children.
A licensed shop is the safest solution, Sachdeva responded.
“If we were not going to have retail stores . . . than the grey market is going to be prevalent and you’re going to be more worried about your kids getting that product in his hands.”
The development is slated to include a daycare approximately 100 metres from the cannabis store, constituting a “sufficient separation,” according to city staff.
Seed and Stone is set to operate from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and to employ seven full-time employees and five part-time workers.
Council also approved Imagine Cannabis at 552 Clarke Road near Burquitlam SkyTrain.
The shop is in a commercial building that isn’t expected to be redeveloped “for a number of years,” according to a city staff report.
Council was ultimately not persuaded by objections from the public based on the smell of cannabis.
“We don’t wan that either,” Mayor Richard Stewart told one speaker.
However, not many cannabis users roll a joint and smoke directly in front of the store, ““In the same way that not too many people drink outside the liquor store,” Stewart said.
The mayor added that many residents will smoke both tobacco and cannabis on their balconies, “whether there’s a cannabis store in this neighbourhood or not.”
Following the public hearing, all three applications passed without council discussion.
Council previously approved cannabis shops at 2957 Glen Drive and at 2700 Barnet Highway.