A Valleyview dance studio owner is objecting to a cannabis store application on the grounds that her business serves children, as do schools, near which cannabis shops are prohibited.
Kamloops Dance Academy owner Sandi Lewis, in addition to multiple dance studio parents who deemed the location “inappropriate”, have written to city council, opposing an application at 8-2121 East Trans Canada Hwy., in the former TD Canada Trust branch in Valleyview.
The proposed cannabis store would be in the same strip mall as the dance studio.
In her letter, 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.
The city, however, is recommending council approve the application because it is located within the city’s designated zoning and the retail cannabis sales use is not expected to have any significant impact on the community.
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.
“Where do you stop? Academy school of piano? Academy school of dancing? Academy school for gerbil racing? You know where I’m going?” Jones asked.
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.
“It’s not going to be a negative impact,” Jones said. “All the druggies hanging out smoking cannabis outside, you’re not getting that. Go up there and look at the government store [in the Columbia Place Shopping Centre in Sahali].”
This is the 16th application to come before city council, with 14 so far 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.