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Ban on vape stores proposed in West Vancouver

The change would prohibit standalone vape stores anywhere in the municipality
West Vancouver council has proposed banning standalone vape stores in the municipality.

The District of West Vancouver is moving to ban standalone vape shops in the municipality.

Council recently added a clause about vape shops to a zoning bylaw that will primarily restrict the number of certain businesses allowed to take up space at street level in commercial areas of Ambleside and Dundarave.

In the case of vape shops, however – defined as retail stores used primarily for sale of electronic nicotine or e-cigarettes – council has proposed banning the stores anywhere in West Vancouver.

Stores where sale of vape products is a minor or accessory part of the business – like a convenience store or a cannabis store – would still be allowed under the proposed change.

Currently there aren’t any vape stores operating in West Vancouver.

Next door in North Vancouver, it’s a different story.

Vape stores are a permitted retail use in both the City and District of North Vancouver, provided they operate within provincial and federal regulations, which includes not selling products to minors. There is at least one standalone vape shop in the District of North Vancouver and several in the City of North Vancouver. Vape shops are required to use frosted glass and keep products out of window displays where minors could be exposed to them, in a manner similar to the way cannabis stores are regulated.

The latest proposal to restrict certain businesses in West Vancouver is in addition to limits already put forward by council to banish crypto currency exchanges, gold and jewelry buyers, and hawkers of “non-fungible tokens” from the street level and be kicked upstairs in key commercial areas of the municipality.

Those businesses, along with mortgage brokers, income tax services, bookkeepers and insurances companies, were recently added to a list of financial businesses council has said they’d like to see limited along the street in Ambleside and Dundarave.

Those services join a list of other business types – including doctors’ offices, veterinary clinics, and "pet care" establishments including dog groomers, trainers and doggie daycare, pharmacies, fitness and esthetics studios, business and commercial schools – which West Vancouver council previously told staff it wanted restricted to taking up no more than 20 per cent of each block at street level in Ambleside and Dundarave commercial areas.

Council has also indicated it wants pharmacies limited to no more than five in the Ambleside commercial area and only one in Dundarave.

The move is an expansion of restrictions already in place in West Van that limit several other kinds of businesses including nail salons and real estate offices.

Coun. Christine Cassidy, who introduced motion detailing the proposed changes in November, said they are intended to encourage vibrancy in the district’s walkable commercial areas.

The zoning changes will go to a public hearing May 6.