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Trio of Delta cannabis store applications sent to public hearing

Council extends moratorium on new applications ‘until further notice’
(Black Press Media file photo)

Delta council sent a trio of cannabis store applications to public hearing on Monday before extending a moratorium on further applications “until further notice.”

Two of the three applications that received first and second reading on May 16 are for locations in North Delta: a 1,884 square foot dispensary in the Scott 72 shopping centre (7227 Scott Rd.), and a 169 square foot store at 10190 River Rd. attached to the Tidewaters Pub and Liquor Store.

The third application is for a 893-square-foot dispensary inside the former Booster Juice at Ladner Centre Mall (5150 Ladner Trunk Rd.).

Council also directed staff to not accept any more cannabis dispensary applications “until further notice” while the six currently in stream make their way through the approval process.

In addition to the three sent to public hearing Monday, two cannabis stores being pitched along a two-block stretch near the Tsawwassen Town Centre mall are awaiting final approval.

Both proposals — one by Inspired Cannabis at 100 - 1179 56th St. (Bayside Village Mall), the other by Queensborough Cannabis Co. at 1274 56th St. (Tsawwassen Shopping Centre) — were given third reading following a public hearing on April 26. The Queensborough Cannabis application passed unanimously while the Inspired Cannabis application did so on a vote of 6-1, with Coun. Lois Jackson opposed.

The last application of the six, to be operated by 4Twenty Cannabis at 14 - 7550 River Road in Tilbury, was received by the city on Dec. 16, 2021. It is still in the early stages of review and has not yet made its way before council.

To date, council has approved three non-medical cannabis stores. The first, located at 616 Chester Rd. on Annacis Island, was approved in November of 2021, while the second, located at Delta Shoppers Mall next door to JYSK (120 - 8077 Scott Rd.), was approved in late January of this year. Both store are currently open the public.

The third, to be operated by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, was approved by council on April 25.

The three dispensaries headed to public hearing

The store in Scott 72 shopping centre would be operated by Queensborough Cannabis Co. and is proposed to be open seven days week from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A staff report notes the proposed store’s location is 433 metres (1,420 feet) away from Kabaddi Park in Surrey and 675 metres (2,215 feet) from Cory Drive Park in Delta. It is also 667 metres (2,188 feet) from the nearest elementary school in Surrey, 850 metres (2,789 feet) from the nearest elementary school in Delta and 1,086 metres (3,563 feet) from the nearest secondary school in Delta. The report notes that the Delta School District reviewed the application and said the location is “a fairly large distance from their nearest school.”

The City of Delta does not have location guidelines for cannabis dispensaries, however staff note he proposed location generally meets or exceeds the average requirements of other local governments with respect to the proximity to schools and parks. The dispensary would be only 358 metres away from the nearest cannabis store (a BC Cannabis Store approved last month), less than the one kilometre required by other municipalities.

A public notification letter about the proposal was sent to over 2,100 people on Feb. 10, and to date staff have received 10 responses from the public within the notification area, all opposed to the proposal.

Respondents were concerned about the store’s proximity to residential neighbourhoods and schools, exposing children to drugs, and the smell of cannabis and smoke from users. Others also voiced opposition to cannabis for non-medical use, while some said cannabis should only be sold at government stores.

The River Road dispensary would be operated by Tidewaters Investment Ltd. under the business name Kushi Cannabis Co. and open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A staff report states the site is separated from the residential neighbourhood to the east by a Canadian National rail line, while to the west are mostly industrial properties. To the north is River Road, a heritage interpretive site and the Fraser River.

The proposed store would be 82 metres (269 feet) away from the St. Mungo Interpretive Site and Musqueam Winter Village Trail, which the report notes is used recreationally by the public, 1,289 metres (4,229 feet) from the nearest elementary school and 1,350 metres (4,429 feet) from the nearest secondary school. The location is also adjacent to a trail that connects under Highway 91 to the Delta Nature Reserve Park.

The nearest approved cannabis retail store is located on Annacis Island, while the next closest is located on Scott Road, over 3.5 kilometres away.

A public notification letter about the proposal was sent to around 1,000 recipients on Feb. 9, and to date staff have received 15 responses from the public within the notification area — 14 opposed and one in support.

Concerns raised include crime and safety, increased traffic, littering and drug paraphernalia, and the location’s proximity to a residential neighbourhood, schools and parks. Respondents were also concerned that people would go to the nearby parks and trails to smoke.

The one person who wrote in support was pleased there would be a cannabis dispensary located near a liquor store and within walking distance.

The report notes the applicant canvassed customers at the Tidewaters Liquor Store to determine if the dispensary was in demand and supported, ultimately collecting 51 letters of support between Feb. 10 and 19, all from people in North Delta.

The Ladner store would be operated by Inspired Cannabis and open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. If approved, it would be the first cannabis store in the community.

According to a staff report, the proposed dispensary would be 815 metres (2,674 feet) from the nearest public elementary school, 249 metres (817 feet) from the nearest independent elementary school and 299 metres (981 feet) from the nearest secondary school.

The site is only 46 metres (151 feet) away from Magee Park and 212 metres (696 feet) away from Ladner Lions Park, distances that are less than the average required in the other cities. The report notes that Magee Park is a linear park that follows the Chillukthan Slough and does not have any playgrounds or sports fields where youth were likely to congregate, though Ladner Lions Park “contains youth-oriented programming.” The proposed dispensary would not be visible from that park.

The proposed location is also 80 metres (262 feet) from the Wintemute Boys and Girls Club and 110 metre (361 feet) from the Ladner Community Centre, both distances less than the average separation of 230 metres (755 feet) required by other local governments.

A public notification letter for the owner’s initial proposal for a location four doors away in the same shopping centre (next door to the Dairy Queen) was sent to over 3,100 recipients on Nov. 18, 2021, garnering 54 responses. Seven people voiced their support for the proposal, including one owner of a business in the shopping centre.

Forty people were opposed, with the majority mentioning “youth” and “Dairy Queen” in their responses. Many of those opposed raised concerns that the store would increase youth’s access to cannabis and normalize its use, while eight people said it would be open too late.

The report states that Imagine Cannabis Co. worked with the owner of the shopping centre to secure a unit further from Dairy Queen in response to community feedback. The unit formerly occupied by Booster Juice became available and Imagine Cannabis Co. subsequently amended their application.

A new public notification letter was sent to over 3,100 recipients on Feb. 25, 2022, and to date staff have received 34 responses. Three people who had not previously responded said they were in support for the application, while 30 people were opposed (16 of whom had not previously responded) and one person voiced their concern over the store’s hours.

In all, the city has received 71 responses not counting repeats: 10 in support, 54 opposed, six with concerns and one asking questions.

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James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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