Mission is examining five cannabis retail store proposals, three on them are in the same area of First Avenue. / Kevin Mills Photos

Mission is examining five cannabis retail store proposals, three on them are in the same area of First Avenue. / Kevin Mills Photos

Five Mission cannabis shops pondered by council

Public to provide input on three proposals on First Ave, two more on Lougheed Highway

Five applications for marijuana dispensaries have been put before Mission Council for consideration.

The applicants have their eyes on two areas in the city, the 32000-block of Lougheed Highway and the 33000-block of First Avenue.

The district’s zoning bylaws require pot shops to be 250 metres away from public and private schools, as well as 150 metres away from other cannabis retail stores.

Only one of the three proposed downtown shops – Cheeky and Jesus (32988 First Ave.) Leaf Land Cannabis Inc. (33057 First Ave.) and Seed and Stone (#101-33025 First Ave.) – can be approved by council, as they fall within the 150 metre zoning buffer with each other.

The other two proposed locations – High Point Cannabis Ltd. (#212 32530 Lougheed Highway) and Mission Cannabis (#111 – 32423 Lougheed Highway) – are a legal distance apart.

On Monday night, council examined the five proposals. The application that generated the most questions was the proposal for the old Bellevue Hotel site (32988 1st Avenue) in the downtown core.

Coun. Danny Plecas said he wasn’t concerned by the application, rather about the condition of the existing building.

“This building is in need of massive repairs,” he noted, adding he felt it would be a challenge to place any new business on the site, unless it was brought up to requirements.

Staff said the applicant, the Springs Group, is also applying for development and business permits for the site and could be looking at creating an addition three retail units at that building.

Coun. Carol Hamilton called it a good application, considering the company’s business experience in the area, but she was not pleased with the name Cheeky and Jesus. However she did see a benefit if the proposed cannabis store is the “impetus to get something going” at the far end of town “because we’ve been wanting that for a very long time,” said Hamilton.

Council has agreed to waive the need for a public information meeting – due to COVID-19 social distancing concerns – in favour of allowing people to submit letters and email comments regarding the proposed cannabis store locations.

A letter has been sent out to residents living within a 152-metre buffer around the proposed stores.

The public consultation process will run for a four-week period before the issue goes back before council.

It is the provincial government that issues licences for non-medical marijuana shops, but the licence requires the recommendation of local municipal governments on the basis of local input.

Council has previously endorsed a retail store operated by the provincial government at 31956 Lougheed Highway.