Pitt Meadows is a step closer to having its first legal cannabis retail store, after city council voted 6-1 to approve one at Meadowtown Shopping Centre.
Earlier Pitt Meadows councils had decided to proceed slowly with cannabis retail, while neighbouring Maple Ridge has five stores already in business. The first opened in the summer of 2019.
Mayor Nicole MacDonald said this proposal was supported at third reading on a 6-1 vote by councillors. Coun. Gwen O’Connell was opposed.
“We definitely waited to see how it played out in other communities,” MacDonald said, adding the Meadowtown location is a “suitable spot.”
A public hearing was held in June, and 25 written submissions were received by the city – both in support and opposed to the store.
The chief concern from those opposed was the proximity to a child care centre at the shopping centre. However, council heard the two enterprises would be on opposite sides of the centre, some 431 metres apart. That distance would satisfy a 200m buffer from schools, playgrounds, and sports fields – other places children frequent – set out in the Cannabis Retail Stores Policy.
The proposed cannabis store would not be visible from the child care centre, city hall staff notes.
The mayor said she was convinced to support the proposal by an increasing number of people who use cannabis products for therapeutic purposes, and as sleep aids.
A former police officer, she said council is also helping to get rid of illegal cannabis by approving the retail store.
“You want it in a controlled market, and government-approved, and not in a black market,” MacDonald said.
The mayor said she does not see a lot of suitable locations in the small urban/retail core of Pitt Meadows for more cannabis stores in future. However, any applications will get properly processed at city hall, she added.
The Meadowtown proposal will now be sent to the Provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for approval, then would come back to council for fourth reading and final approval.
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