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This snazzy cannabis boutique will open in North Vancouver's Lower Lonsdale next year

Anyone who walks, bikes, or rollerblades into this new cannabis store (when it opens) will receive a little discount

Cannasseurs will be happy to know a new recreational cannabis store will be opening in the City of North Vancouver early next year.

Council voted unanimously to move forward with a rezoning application for the new store at 115 East First St. in Lower Lonsdale after a public hearing at the Dec. 7 general meeting. 

The location will soon be home to a stylish Eggs Canna boutique. The successful company, which has been “shifting stigmas for mother earth” since it was founded in 2014, already has five licensed retail stores or “sacred spaces” across B.C., including four boutiques in Metro Vancouver.

“We understand our role is to introduce cannabis to communities in a socially responsible manner,” said Oana Nicoara, president and co-founder of Eggs Canna, at the Dec. 7 meeting, adding there had been no complaints or violations at any of their other locations to date.

“EC brings hands-on cannabis sales experience under a licensed municipal and provincial framework. Operating with great respect for our communities, EC strives to have a lasting positive impact.”  

She said the company was all about shifting old stigmas and complementing the neighbourhoods they operate in, highlighting the new boutique will have a timeless exterior design with a warm Victorian vibe to fit in with the old and the new.

EC hasn’t had much community backlash about the planned boutique, receiving mostly positive feedback after a virtual open house, and conducting community notifications and door-knock visits before COVID.

Greg Holmes, Lower Lonsdale BIA, spoke at the public hearing in support of the business moving into the area.

“Recreational cannabis doesn't have the stigma it once had, and as a result, it's drawing people to neighbourhoods,” he said.

“Anything that draws people down into our neighbourhood and our business community is a good thing.”

The biggest concern about the boutique was a lack of parking, which was later satisfied by EC outlining that there are six public parking stalls in front of the stores and a parking lot 125 metres away that offers an additional 128 spaces.

“We have created innovative and unique ways to encourage more foot traffic and less car congestion,” said Nicoara.  

“EC is excited to launch a new discount class for those who walk, bike or rollerblade. Those discounts are validated at the time of purchase through a point of sale system with North Vancouver being the pilot project.”

The store will also have nine tills running simultaneously, so sales attendants or knowledgeable ‘Eggies’ will be able to serve customers efficiently and fast, significantly reducing or eliminating lineups.

All councillors showed support for the budding industry. However, Mayor Linda Buchanan and Coun. Tony Valente recused themselves from the item.

Counc. Jessica McIlroy said she didn’t have any concerns moving the application forward, adding that the location is suitable. She said EC had done a thorough job of addressing the city and provincial requirements.

“I think they can operate safely in the community and provide the benefit that they need for those who would like to use the substance,” McIlroy said.

“We're not hearing about issues of mass traffic and parking, or people misbehaving or breaking our other bylaws around these stores, and so I think we've pretty comfortably reached a point where these retail outlets are now just a part of most communities, and people are quite comfortable with them.”

EC plans to open in March 2021.

North Vancouver’s herb ’n’ sprawl

According to the city’s Recreational Cannabis Retail Policy, approved Sept. 17, 2018, the herb 'n’ sprawl can only go so far, with a limit of six retail cannabis businesses spread out in the city. The policy allows for two businesses in the Central Lonsdale area, two in the Lower Lonsdale area, one in the west part of the city, and one in the east part of the city.

So far, four of the six retail cannabis spots have been filled with the first two, 1st Cannabis, at 223 West First St., and BC Cannabis Store, at 333 Brooksbank Ave., getting council approval in July 2019. Another two, Quantum 1 Cannabis, at 820 Marine Dr., and Lonsdale Cannabis, at 1433 Lonsdale Ave. received approval in February. A further five businesses were denied rezoning. 

At the moment, only 1st Cannabis and Quantum 1 Cannabis have opened for business. Lonsdale Cannabis is expected to open soon, and a building permit application for the new building for BC Cannabis Store is expected shortly.

Now that the EC application has been approved, the two Lower Lonsdale locations have been filled, leaving only Central Lonsdale with one available business spot for a cannabis retail store.

Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.