Burnaby city council has advanced plans for Metro Vancouver’s first suburban stores.
The province’s Liquor Distribution Branch plans to open both BC Cannabis Stores on Kingsway – one in the Old Orchard Shopping Centre in Metrotown and the other in the Kings Crossing development currently under construction in Edmonds.
Council directed staff to keep working with the LDB on plans for the two shops and to advance the rezoning applications to future public hearings.
Mayor Mike Hurley told the NOW he thought the planned shops were appropriate for their proposed locations.
He said he is happy with the city’s current policy of only allowing a maximum of one government store in each of the city’s four town centres. At this time, the city isn’t considering allowing private retail cannabis stores.
“It will be controlled just like the liquor stores,” Hurley said. “As we all know, it's legal now, whether we like it or not.”
Kamloops is home to the only open BC Cannabis store, but 19 more have already been approved by local governments, according to a City of Burnaby report.
A letter from the LDB to Burnaby promises the two stores will have frosted windows, strict ID checks, high security and odour mitigation procedures.
It also promises to provide good jobs, starting at $21 an hour, plus benefits and pension.
“Anytime there's a living wage where people can actually afford to really take part in our economy ... is always good for our economy,” Hurley said.
He said he’s not sure what the potential opening dates for the stores could be, but he expects the applications to come to public hearing in the fall.
Council also advanced plans for two cannabis-related facilities Monday.
Ascension Bioceuticals wants make tinctures, oral sprays and capsules in a commercial/industrial building near the Production Way University SkyTrain station, while Medipure Pharmaceuticals wants to build a new research facility for cannabis drugs in a Beta Avenue industrial complex.
Neither company plans to grow cannabis plants at the locations.
While the plans have been sent back to staff to prepare for a future public, Hurley said there are unanswered questions about potential smells from the facilities and environmental impacts.
“We need a lot more information before we could move it forward,” he said.