City of North Vancouver council has rejected three cannabis stores after strong opposition from nearby residents and businesses.
Noise, traffic congestion, parking, smell and proximity of some of these proposed stores to neighbourhoods led the council to reject the applications.
One of the rejected applications was for a storefront at 315 Lonsdale Avenue — right below a co-op building.
Through letters and presentations before the council, the residents had expressed their frustration with the possibility of a cannabis store operating right at the entrance of their building.
“I fear I will be unable to open my window due to the strong cannabis scent rising from the street. This is unacceptable,” said resident Eiko Madsen.
Another resident, Elaine Sharp, said she didn’t have anything against cannabis stores but they don’t belong to residential areas. “If the stores have to be at restricted distance from schools, then shouldn’t they also be at restricted distance from homes where there are young children?” she said.
Mayor Linda Buchanan said resident at the public hearing had made it clear it wasn’t a good fit for their neighbourhood. She said residents should feel safe going into their homes in the city. “They are safe but they are feeling trepidation in the type of use in their building,” she said.
Mayor Buchanan said the store could fit in the other parts of the community, but she would not support a cannabis store at 315 Lonsdale Avenue.
The council also rejected an application by City Cannabis to open a store at 725 West 14th Street. The store’s proximity to a music school and a STEM learning centre and tight parking in the area were the top concerns of the residents and businesses.
Yalda Ahmadvand, the part owner of the Discover English Academy, said her clients ranged from age of five to 17. “I recommend that this block should not be rezoned to have a Cannabis organisation as there are three educational companies catering to children in this block less than 300 metres away from 725 West 14th,” she said.
Councillor Holly Back said businesses in the area were already quite concerned about drugs in the area. “We have three private schools within 50 paces and a huge private school within 400 metres. That area has so many children around it, and it also has homeless shelter there. We would be creating a problem in this area,” she said.
Councillor Tony Valente and Mayor Buchanan also expressed their concerns with traffic in the area and the potential impact with the proposed cannabis store.
Traffic and parking were the reasons residents and businesses opposed another proposed cannabis store by BC Liquor Distribution branch on 1200 Lonsdale Avenue.
“Many cannabis patrons, expecting to be in and out quickly, would double park, park illegally or park in private pay parking spaces rather than competing for street parking with everyone else,” said Debbie Dickie, the owner of Above Average Lingerie and Fashions.
The council agreed with the residents and rejected the application for 1200 Lonsdale Avenue.
The council approved cannabis stores at 333 Brooksbank Avenue, 221 West 1st Street and 1717 Lonsdale Avenue.