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Port Coquitlam advances rezoning bid for northside cannabis shop

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said cannabis stores are "really no different than our hardware store, a bakery or any other store that’s going to sell any other product."
Cannabis shop
BOSS Cannabis received approval to open a new store on Port Coquitlam's north side.

A rezoning bid for a new cannabis retail store in Port Coquitlam got the green light from the city’s committee of council yesterday, March 12.

Elected officials unanimously advanced the BOSS Cannabis bid to council for approval, saying the municipality hasn’t received any blowback about its other five pot shops since they opened.

“I just don’t think it’s a very big deal at this point,” Mayor Brad West said in supporting the proposed outlet for 101-3377 Coast Meridian Rd., in the former space used by Lordco Auto Parts.

In his committee report, PoCo planning director Bruce Irvine wrote the site would be about 150 m “as the crow flies” to Minnekhada Middle School; however, West said the walking distance equivalent would be 325 m — exceeding the city’s guidelines for a 250 m separation between cannabis shops and schools.

In addition, he said, the outlet would be 250 m from the sports field behind École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville and 400 m from the Hyde Creek Recreation Centre.

Since the rezoning sign went up on site, Irvine wrote, the city has fielded four comments from the community with concerns about the proximity to the Tri-City Canaan Church, which has a daycare. Other childcare centres are also close, but there are no parks or playgrounds nearby.

Still, West said cannabis stores are “really no different than our hardware store, a bakery or any other store that’s going to sell any other product.”

“I have no concerns about any sort of impact.”

Coun. Nancy McCurrach concurred there have been no issues with PoCo's cannabis outlets and the Coast Meridian Road site is a good location, noting The Arms Pub and liquor store are in the next block.

Coun. Darrell Penner said the proposed store would be a “service” for northside residents.

“I think that the whole stigma about cannabis is going to fade over time and I’m hoping it does sooner than later,” Coun. Paige Petriw noted.

“The amount of people that visit these stores for health benefits — they’re not getting high; there’s plenty of products being sold that don’t even have TCH in it.”

Added Coun. Steve Darling, “It’s part of society now. We have to get used to it.”

City council will consider first and second bylaw reading of the BOSS Cannabis application in April. A public hearing will be scheduled before third reading.