Muse Cannabis is opening a store in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)

Muse Cannabis is opening a store in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)

New cannabis retailer coming to Maple Ridge this spring

Council gives approval to Muse Cannabis

Muse Cannabis is planning to open a retail store in Maple Ridge this spring.

Mike McKee and his brother-in-law Geoff Dear run the business. They also operate Jak’s Beer Wine and Spirits, which is a chain of 16 private liquor stores, including one in the Westgate Shopping Centre.

City council approved their new cannabis retail store at a location at 510-20395 Lougheed Highway, at Westgate Shopping Centre.

McKee said they will take possession of their new location in March, and then begin renovations. He expects to open the new store in May or June.

Council had to waive its own policy to not allow stores within one kilometer of each other in approving the new business, but only Coun. Kiersten Duncan was opposed to the application.

“I have an issue with the fact that we’re not following the 1000 metre setback for this item, because I feel that we’re giving a confusing signal to businesses in the community, particularly cannabis retailers, on where they can and cannot move to in the community,” said Duncan at the Dec. 8 meeting. “And we’re allowing some to go in locations that are within the 1,000m setback.”

Duncan asserted council should change it’s own bylaw to a setback distance councillors are comfortable with. She expressed confidence in the operator, and said her opposition was an issue of council following its bylaws.

The Muse store would be within 1,000m of a proposed B.C. government store at Lougheed and 207th. The separation is 340m. However, because council did a zoning bylaw text amendment, the setback does not apply, staff clarified.

Coun. Ryan Svendsen said he is generally supportive of the policy of separating stores by one kilometre, but noted there is not even a building on the site where the government store is proposed, and council is not seeing progress on that development from the province.

“My personal belief, first in best dressed happens to be the applicant that’s before us tonight,” he said. “And they are a proven, long-term business owner in that part of the neighbourhood, and I am quite happy to see them go ahead.”

READ ALSO: Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

The motion passed with only Duncan opposed.

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