District must issue building permit for First Avenue pharmacy

The B.C. Supreme Court has sided with company owners

A B.C. Supreme Court ruling last week will see the District of Mission issue a building permit for a medical clinic and pharmacy on First Avenue.

Mission’s chief administrative officer, Ken Bjorgaard, expects it will be sent out this week.

A lawsuit was filed on June 25, 2012, and concluded recently.

Bjorgaard says he doesn’t yet know how much the process has cost taxpayers as the district is still waiting for all the costs to come in. The petitioners were granted their court costs.

Last year the District of Mission council passed a bylaw prohibiting pharmacies and medical clinics in the downtown core, which prompted legal action from numbered company 0773184 B.C. Ltd.

The company had purchased the property at 33133 First Ave. before the zoning change and said the district was aware of its intended use and received assurances such an operation was allowed, according to statements filed in court.

Mission realtor Bill Campbell, who was the purchasing agent, said he was “happy to hear the news. I suspected this would be the result, and I’m happy it turned out this way for my clients.”

Mission Coun. Nelson Tilbury, who has a background in real estate, was one of two councillors who opposed the bylaw last year.

Coun. Jenny Stevens also voted against the change.

“If we make statements as a realtor, we’re held to account,” said Tilbury. “The same applies to cities and municipalities.”

Changing the zoning after a business has already told you what they want to do and spent money on renovations is morally wrong, said Tilbury, adding, “As it turns out, it’s legally wrong too.”

Tilbury said he understood where the opposition was coming from, and pointed out there were a lot of unfounded rumours circulating. Other councillors claimed restricting pharmacies in the area was part of the downtown revitalization process.