PoCo pot store bylaw, policy to go to hearing

Public to get say in February on city bylaw regulations for marijuana retail outlets

A public hearing will be held early next month before Port Coquitlam finalizes its bylaws and policies for pot shops in the city.

Council approved first and second readings of the new legislation on Tuesday. It was initially discussed a month ago at a committee-of-council meeting.

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“This has been a fairly lengthy process for the city," said Mayor Brad West on Wednesday.

He pointed out the city had in excess of 900 responses of public feedback in addition to an open house.

The proposed bylaws basically followed the existing liquor retail outlet model. 

Stores selling cannabis will be required to have an approximate one kilometre separation between each other and be at least 250 metres from schools and playgrounds. That distance was increased from 200 to 250 following public consultation.

Although a staff member reported to council in December the provincial government was looking for sites in the Tri-Cities area, a spokesperson for the Liquor Distribution Branch said it is looking at all municipalities, 

“Our process will be if the province wishes to make an application it will be treated the same as private retailers and will go through the same process,” said West. 

In its policy report, city staff recommended geographical and physical barriers such as a river, highway or bridge be used to help determine where outlets can go. The stores will also be banned from using flashy or inappropriate signs on their storefronts.

A licence application will have a $1,000 non-refundable fee and a $1,200 one. If an amendment is needed it will cost $300 with a $1,200 refundable fee. Annual fees for the businesses will be $1,500.

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