Chilliwack sees its first cannabis retail location on Industrial Way rezoned to C9. (Black Press file)

First rezoning of Chilliwack location approved for cannabis store

The Industrial Way location fits criteria council wanted like distance from schools and parks

The first cannabis retail location was successfully rezoned in Chilliwack by city council.

Council rezoned a portion of the SureStay Hotel by Best Western property at 43971 Industrial Way to C9, cannabis retail, from commercial CS2, at the April 16 council meeting.

After the public hearing, several members of council commented on the appropriateness of the location to sell legal pot, which is far away from schools, parks and other institutions, as it is.

Coun. Jeff Shields said he could support the location, for Chilliwack’s “first exposure” in the cannabis retail rezoning process, for several reasons, including the fact that it didn’t require any variances.

Coun. Bud Mercer, a former RCMP assistant commissioner, said he’s been asked by citizens for his views on this one.

“Given my background, and outspoken dislike for drugs, I guess would be a good way to put it, I’m personally not for any of this, for the record,” Coun. Mercer said after the hearing. “But our government has made a decision to legalize it and if it is going to be in Chilliwack, this is a good location for it.”

Coun. Harv Westringh noted “it’s far away from schools and parks” and meets all the criteria, hence he could support it.

Coun. Chris Kloot noted that Canada was into legalization by six months last week, and he supported the location.

“I know there are those within the community who look forward to have a supply right here,” Kloot said.

Coun. Sue Attrill, stepped out of the meeting, citing her wish to avoid any conflict of interest, given a relationship with the applicant.

The rezoning for a portion of the SureStay property, was given third reading, and final adoption is imminent.

As anticipated there has been huge interest in establishing legal cannabis stores in Chilliwack, and it’s slowing down the process at city hall to some degree. In fact, there are still nine other C9 rezoning applications in the queue, according to City of Chilliwack officials who say they expect at least two more in the near future.

The timeline for processing rezoning applications is more than six months at this point, and the same, six months plus, for Agricultural Lane Reserve applications.

To make room for the cannabis retail operation at the site, the owners are planning to convert the former track betting location.

The new C9 zone requires a 300-metre minimum distance from schools, community centres, sports fields, playgrounds, supportive housing facilities or any serving vulnerable youth.

Retail operators will apply to the Liquor Control and Cannabis Regulation Branch for a retail licence, after applications filled out and fees paid, with 300-metre buffer area.

The next steps after a rezoning has been approved, the owner/operator applying for a business licence must confirm: installation of an air filtration system; security plan; police checks; proof of security alarm contract, video surveillance, and a fire alarm system.

READ MORE: Companies in the queue for cannabis stores

READ MORE: Retail cannabis zone discussed at open house


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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