Pitt Meadows gives go-ahead to 2 new cannabis stores

Kelowna-based Kelo Cannabis is looking to open a new cannabis store in Pitt Meadows at the Meadow Vale Shopping Centre. (Kelo Cannabis/Special to The News)

Two more cannabis stores could be on the way in Pitt Meadows after city council gave approval Jan. 9 for both applications to proceed to next stages.

The two separate applications for new retail cannabis stores came on the heels of the approval of the city’s first cannabis store, to be located in Meadowtown Shopping Centre.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows council accepting first cannabis store

The first presented application was for a farm gate sales operation at 19038 Old Dewdney Trunk Rd., right next to Amsterdam Garden Centre.

This application is the first of its kind for Pitt Meadows, according to the city’s manager of planning, Colin O’Byrne.

He explained the property is approximately 22 acres and contains a greenhouse that was converted for cannabis production, with the company being in production for nearly a year already.

The application states that about 750 square feet of the greenhouse would be converted into a retail space that would be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is expected to attract between 10 and 20 customers per day.

READ MORE: Lower Mainland’s first ‘farm-gate’ cannabis store opens at Shxwhá:y Village near Chilliwack

By using existing infrastructure, including current gravel parking spaces, O’Byrne explained that the property would avoid much of the hassle around setting up a new physical store.

“There won’t be any additional construction on site other than inside of the greenhouse,” said O’Byrne.

According to provincial regulations, a farm gate sales operation requires that a minimum of 50 per cent of the products sold through a store need to originate from the agricultural land on which it sits. This new proposed cannabis retail outlet would be bound by these regulations.

After getting confirmation that no complaints related to the cannabis production site had been raised within the past year, Coun. Bob Meachen voiced his support for the application along with Coun. Mike Manion, who explained that he was happy to approve this project to help a local agricultural site thrive financially.

READ MORE: Weed tours are Canada’s new wine tours

“With agriculture being in the predicament of how to maintain agriculture on very expensive farmland, I see cannabis as a farm product and this is just the next step in their evolution,” Manion said. “I don’t see this as being any different than if a winery or hops farm was requesting it.”

The application was supported in a 6-1 vote, with Coun. Gwen O’Connell opposed.

City staff now have to send out notices to surrounding properties in what was proposed to be a 488-metre radius, although Coun. Mike Hayes expressed his desire to see this radius expanded.

Later in the meeting, the second application was brought up, with it returning to council after the developer was permitted to continue with a developer information meeting at the Oct. 24 council meeting.

This proposed cannabis retail store would be the newest location of the Kelowna-based company Kelo Cannabis, and would be located near Shoppers Drug Mart at Meadow Vale Shopping Centre.

At the required developer information meeting Nov. 21, all four attendees were in support of the new cannabis store.

“They spoke in favour of local ownership, the walkability and also having some market choice,” O’Byrne said.

While the city received three calls in opposition that expressed concerns about smell and on-site consumption, “licensing regulations don’t allow on-site consumption at cannabis shops, and the city has a smoking bylaw that prohibits smoking and vaping in public places,” O’Byrne said.

He also noted that the city received a letter opposing the application from the owner of the Seed and Stone cannabis store at Meadowtown Shopping Centre, which will soon be the city’s first cannabis retail location, with the owner citing concerns over market saturation.

In addition to the developer information meeting, the applicant also presented at the Economic Development Advisory Committee meeting on Nov. 30, with the committee giving its support, O’Byrne said.

Coun. Meachen said he was again in full support of this application, but was surprised that the city didn’t receive more negative feedback regarding the proposed cannabis store.

Support was also given by Coun. Manion, but he said he might not be as supportive of future applications.

“I would caution that I think we are quickly achieving a saturation point,” Manion said. “We have a duty to businesses that when they are established, we don’t saturate the market that they’re in. I don’t think that’s fair. So any future applications, I will look at them quite differently.”

Coun. Alison Evans agreed that recognizing where the saturation point may be is important, and said the Economic Development Advisory Committee felt like the city’s map regarding potential cannabis store locations was appropriately restrictive to help avoid reaching that point.

“(The committee) cautioned against over-saturation, but they also cautioned against giving a monopoly to the first person who came through the door,” Evans said.

After another 6-1 vote from council, the applicant was approved and will now be the subject of a public hearing.