Second North Delta cannabis dispensary application moving to public hearing

On Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, Delta council gave first and second reading to an application to open a government-owned BC Cannabis Store inside Scottsdale Centre, located at 7031 Scott Road. (James Smith photo)

Minutes after approving North Delta’s first cannabis dispensary Monday afternoon, council gave a preliminary nod to the community’s second.

On Jan. 24, council gave first and second reading to an application to open a government-owned BC Cannabis Store inside Scottsdale Centre (7031 Scott Rd.), referring the proposal to public hearing.

The dispensary would be operated by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB), which also runs a liquor store in the mall, and would be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The store is slated to include 145 square metres (1,561 sq. ft.) of retail floor area and 102 square metres (1,098 sq. ft.) for office and storage. There would be no cultivation, processing or manufacturing of cannabis products within the store, and all the products sold in the store would be packaged and sold in accordance with Health Canada requirements.

A report by city staff notes that since the products come prepackaged, little to no noticeable odour would be emitted from the store. Still, there would also be a ventilation and filtration system installed to reduce or eliminate any possible odours.

As of Jan. 11, the city had received feedback from 54 people regarding the proposed dispensary — two in support and 52 opposed. According to the report, the 77 per cent of those in opposition mentioned the store’s close proximity to schools and adverse affect on youth. Other concerns raised crime and cannabis smoke. Seventeen per cent of those opposed did not give a reason.

Changes to the city’s zoning bylaw made in 2018 prohibit cannabis dispensaries in all zones, which means all applications must be approved by council on a case-by-case basis. The lack of local policy or bylaws governing dispensaries, however, also means Delta staff have use other cities’ regulations as a guide when evaluating new proposals.

A review of the LDB application by city staff found the proposed dispensary’s location met or exceeded the average requirements of other local governments.

The dispensary would be 742 metres from the nearest Delta elementary school and 794 metres from the nearest secondary school. The report noted the Delta School District said the location was “a fairly large distance” from its nearest school.

The location would also be 434 metres from the nearest public park in Delta, though Kabaddi Park in Surrey is only 237 metres away “as the crow flies,” below the average separation requirement in other cities. However, staff noted the walking distance to the nearest entrance to the park is about 450 metres and the dispensary would not be visible from the park as it would be inside the mall.

As there are no dispensaries in Surrey, the nearest one would be at Delta Shoppers Mall (120 – 8077 Scott Rd.), a distance of 2.1 kilometres. Council gave final reading to the 156-square-foot store operated by Inspired Cannabis Co. earlier Jan. 24.

The staff report also notes that given the dispensary’s proposed location, both the city’s community planning and development department and the Delta Police Department reviewed the application. Neither anticipate any impacts to the community.

To date, council has approved two cannabis dispensaries. The first, located at 616 Chester Rd. on Annacis Island, was approved by council Nov. 22, 2021. The 93-square-metre store will be operated by Seed & Stone and is slated to open in March of this year.

Another three cannabis dispensary applications have been received by council for information and are under review by city staff before making their way back for council’s approval.

All three are being pitched for South Delta: one at 5128 Ladner Trunk Rd. (Ladner Centre Mall) and one at 100 – 1179 56th St. (Bayside Village Mall) — both of which would be operated by Inspired Cannabis — and another at 1274 56th St. (Tsawwassen Shopping Centre) by Queensborough Cannabis Co.

In a closed meeting on Sept. 27, with (at the time) six applications on the books, council decided that staff should not accept any new cannabis dispensary rezoning applications “until further notice,” a decision reiterated in the report on the LDB’s application.

However, that same report notes there is an application for a cannabis dispensary 358 metres away at Scott 72 Shopping Centre (7227 Scott Rd.). That application by Queensborough Cannabis Co. is “in the early stages of review” and has not yet been received by council.

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