THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Derek Koel, Port McNeill councillor, brought cannabis samples in an effort to destigmatize cannabis-use.

Kamloops mayor: Fast-food chains more harmful to children than cannabis stores

Kamloops council approves 15th cannabis store application

  • Mar. 6, 2019 9:32 a.m.

-Kamloops this Week

Kamloops council has approved an application to open a cannabis store in a Valleyview strip mall, despite the objection of a nearby business owner.

Kamloops Dance Academy owner Sandi Lewis and multiple dance studio parents opposed the application on the grounds the business serves children, as do schools, near which cannabis shops are prohibited.

Lewis described to city council uncertainty about the impacts of private stores in the community, despite having visited the government store in Sahali.

“I’m looking out for the children,” she said. “I’m looking out for myself.”

The applicant, Michael Koehn, co-founded the Welcome Back Clinic downtown and owns the CannSolve Clinic, a medical cannabis centre in Sahali. He told KTW he plans to move that centre to Valleyview alongside the cannabis store at 2121 East Trans-Canada Hwy.

READ MORE: Province green lights Green Canoe Cannabis

He sympathized with concerns of the dance studio owner and pledged to be a good neighbour

In a letter to council, Lewis noted city regulations restrict cannabis stores from being within 150 metres if a school. Lewis said her studio serves more than 300 students, primarily young children.

“I don’t feel that my facility is any different from an elementary school,” Lewis wrote, noting she would neither want a liquor store beside the studio.

Despite her opposition, council voted unanimously to approve the application, with Coun. Denis Walsh recusing himself due to a conflict of interest as he is pursuing opening a cannabis store downtown.

Coun. Kathy Sinclair called Koehn a “person of integrity” in the community, while Coun. Mike O’Reilly said the city should not set up rules and then change its mind.

“It’s not our job to be moving the goal posts,” he said.

Mayor Ken Christian said he supported the application because the applicant clearly intended to be a good neighbour and the city has recourse through its good neighbour agreement to hold them to account.

Christian said it would be more harmful to have a fast-food restaurant next door to the dance studio than a cannabis store and that it would provide parents an opportunity to discuss cannabis, which is now legal.

He added that fewer empty storefonts would help combat the issue of vagrancy in the community.

“I am going to support this application and I wish them every success,” Christian said.

City of Kamloops property use inspector Dave Jones said the city cited P-3 properties specifically in its zoning bylaw in order to prevent confusion over what constitutes a “school.” The proposed location is in a Valleyview strip mall, zoned C-5 shopping centre commercial.

READ MORE: 15 cannabis retail store applications selected for Kelowna

Jones said stigma continues around negative impacts of cannabis stores, but noted regulations are in place to prevent issues. He said provincial rules limiting advertising. Additionally, the city ties business licences to a good neighbour agreement. =

This was the 16th application to come before city council, with 14 previously approved at the municipal level. Council denied its first cannabis store application last month at 6-685 Tranquille Rd. on the North Shore, following opposition from the Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Metis organization, which raised concerns about impacts on clientele (youth and residential school survivors), crime in the area and parking.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Divorced Canadians not afraid to take the plunge again

Most will wait almost five years before remarrying

Survey finds 15 per cent of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

Father of Saanich murder victim Lindsay Buziak set to appear on Dr. Phil show Friday

Jeff Buziak says he has not seen the show and does not know what to expect

EDITORIAL: We need to change our fire behaviour

Most wildfires in BC during April and May were caused by humans.

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Serious crash scatters pylons, closes highway lanes on mid Island

Crash happened at 1 a.m. Wednesday on the Trans-Canada Highway in Nanaimo

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside Victoria’s city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to push to shut them down

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

Saanich lifeguards earn Vital Link awards for cardiac arrest response

Awards from BC Emergency Health Services recognize quick and skillful life-saving

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, is running for federal office in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

Survey finds minimal progress in Canadian military’s fight against sexual misconduct

1.6 per cent of regular-force members — 900 military personnel — reported having been victims of sexual assaults over past year

Thirty trees destroyed in Parksville’s Cedar Ridge Estates

Damage estimated at $30K; city says vandals intended to permanently ruin the trees

Most Read