Cannasseurs will be happy to know the variety of cannabis businesses is continuing to grow in the City of North Vancouver.
Council voted to move forward with a public hearing for a rezoning application for a new recreational cannabis retail store at 115 East First St. in Lower Lonsdale at Monday night’s general meeting.
If approved, the location would be home to a stylish Eggs Canna (EC) boutique. The successful company, which has been “shifting stigmas for mother earth” since it was founded in 2014, now has nine locations or “sacred spaces” across Vancouver and the Okanagan, including four boutiques in Metro Vancouver.
“We opened our doors as part of the liberal movement in Vancouver driving the legalization of cannabis,” EC wrote in a business plan prepared for council.
It boasted the company had many years of hands-on cannabis experience and the team was well positioned to bring a controlled and safe distribution channel to the city.
“EC prides itself on curating a retail experience that is both unique and memorable,” the business plan stated.
“Our knowledgeable ‘eggies’ (sales ambassadors) shift old stigmas by re-framing them – our customers embark on a journey exploring cannabis history and products – creating a true retail cannabis experience.”
EC hasn’t had any community backlash about the planned boutique, receiving positive feedback after hosting a virtual open house and conducting community notifications and door-knock visits prior to COVID.
“We were met with enthusiasm for the proposed development and received letters of support and endorsement,” Andrew Cappellano, of Eggs Canna, wrote in documents received as part of the report to council.
Cappellano mentioned there had been a couple of comments regarding parking, which were later satisfied by outlining that there is a parking lot across the street and additional street parking in front of the store.
Most councillors showed support for the budding industry. Mayor Linda Buchanan and Coun. Tony Valente recused themselves from the vote at Monday’s general meeting, but it was carried four to one, with only Coun. Don Bell voting against the application moving forward.
Despite EC’s comments on parking issues being resolved, Bell still raised concerns about parking availability in the area. He was also worried about greater street-front transparency, now that windows don't have to be frosted, and the general increase in cannabis stores in the area.
He said in his experience watching the other cannabis stores open, in comparison to other retail outlets, there were always “pretty good lineups.”
"I think that we're going to find that parking is going to be required and it's going to be a problem," Coun. Bell said.
"Now, I know there is a public parking lot across the street, my concern is that public parking lot may or may not be there in the future, it’s a city lot."
Meanwhile, Coun. Holly Back disagreed with parking being an issue and said the application had checked off all the boxes that the city had asked for, mentioning the boutique also had a “nice design.”
"There’s lots of parking, there's a full lot across the street as was mentioned," she said.
"I'm quite happy to move this forward. … If they've met all the requirements, what more are we asking for?"
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.
If council decides to approve the EC application, the two Lower Lonsdale locations will be fulfilled, leaving only Central Lonsdale with one available business spot for a cannabis retail store.
The public hearing has been tentatively set for Dec. 7.
Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.