Maple Ridge council pumped the brakes on one proposed cannabis retail outlet, while sending another to public hearing.
At council’s Sept. 29 meeting, councillors allowed The Muse cannabis store in the Westgate Shopping Centre to proceed in the approval process, despite the fact it is within 1,000 metres of a proposed government store. Council has a bylaw requiring the kilometer separation between stores. The Muse is located at 510-20395 Lougheed Highway, and another government is proposed for a site at the corner of 207th Street and Lougheed. The distance is 340m between the property lines of each proposed business.
Coun. Ryan Svendsen, noting he is one of the more conservative members of council in regard to the issue, said The Muse is backed by a “quality business operator” with a good track record. He also noted there is no existing store within 1,000m of the propose Muse site – just a proposal. He voted to support sending the plan to public hearing.
The Muse is owned by affiliate company shareholders of Jak’s Beer Wine and Spirits. One of its 16 locations across B.C. is also in the Westgate Shopping Centre.
Spokesperson for The Muse applicants, Mike McKee, told council the proposed government store is still a vacant lot, and could be years away from opening.
“Whereas our store could be up and operating within the community within 90 days of approval.”
Coun. Gordy Robson said he would choose the private operator over a government store in the area. The veteran councillor informed staff he has “no intention of supported the proposed, or threatened, provincial store.”
“As far as I’m concerned, we’re done in that end of town,” he said.
Staff noted that the provincial government is exempt from city zoning restrictions, and could proceed with a government store in spite of the one kilometer separation.
The rezoning bylaw for The Muse received first and second reading, and will now go to public hearing.
Another application for a store by Chronic Cannabis was sent back to staff to answer some of council’s questions.
One of the founders of the Vancouver-based organization, Tory Feuer, was born and raised in Maple Ridge. The proposal is to create a flagship store for the company at 11771 225th Street.
Council had questions about the building, about the Chronic Love charity which would donate one per cent of the stores net to fight addiction, and noted it too was within 1 km of other cannabis outlets.
It was referred back to city hall staff for clarifications.