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

Lakers Car Club cruising in style for 25th annual Spring Roundup May 25-26

The Lakers Car Club plans to mark its Spring Roundup in Williams Lake this weekend in style.

Hough Memorial Cancer Society raises over $84,000 in 2018

The Hough Memorial Cancer Society thanks our community for their generous donations of 2018.

WLSA Outdoor Adventure Program back for second season

“There are roads all over the place we can explore with some really nice scenery.”

Lakecity to host Provincial Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition June 1

Williams Lake will be hosting the 2019 Provincial Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition

WEB POLL: Are the penalties for human-caused wildfires strict enough?

The BC Wildfire Service estimates, on average, 40 per cent of wildfires in B.C. are person-caused.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Most Read