A proposal for a cannabis dispensary on Annacis Island is heading to public hearing.

The proposed dispensary would be located at 616 Chester Road, a multi-tenant building on a 0.8 hectare property just off Highway 91 currently zoned for medium industrial use. The owner is seeking to rezone the property to allow for a cannabis dispensary and associated warehouse to operate within part of the existing building.

According to a report by city staff, the dispensary would take up 93 square meters (1,001 sq. ft.) of retail storefront and 245 square metres (2,637 sq. ft.) of warehouse space, as well as 97 square metres (1,044 sq. ft.) of mezzanine office space.

While retail and warehouse use is consistent with the site’s current zoning, Delta’s Zoning Bylaw currently prohibits cannabis dispensaries except on a case-by-case basis. Delta council to date has approved two rezoning applications for cannabis production facilities in industrial areas of the city, but has yet to approve a “non-medical retail store,” as dispensaries are formally called by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).The staff report notes that, sale of cannabis aside, the proposal complies with all other sections of Delta’s Zoning Bylaw.

The report further states that city’s property use and compliance division, Delta Fire and Emergency Services, and the Delta Police Department have all stated they have no concerns with the application.

The owner has agreed to the DPD’s recommendations regarding crime prevention-related site improvements, including exterior lighting for the building’s perimeter and parking lot, steel bollards at the store entrance to prevent vehicle break-and-enters, and the trimming of existing hedges and shrubs.The dispensary would be operated by Seed and Stone, a non-medical cannabis retail brand which currently operates one store in Chilliwack and is expanding to Victoria and elsewhere in B.C.

The report notes the owner has over 20 years of experience in retail, including managing liquor stores and therefore complying with provincial regulations and licence requirements. Seed and Stone would be required to purchase cannabis products directly from the provincial government’s distribution branch, and no cultivation, processing or manufacturing would take place on site.

Delta council gave the proposal first and second reading Monday afternoon (June 14) and referred the application to a public hearing without any discussion.

According to the staff report, a letter notifying the public about the proposal was sent on Nov. 24, 2020, and a public notice sign was installed at the site on Dec. 15, 2020. To date, only two people have provided comments, one in favour and one opposed.

The person in support of the application noted that a cannabis dispensary is needed to serve local Delta residents.

A nearby property owner, meanwhile, told the city that a cannabis dispensary use is not appropriate in an industrial area and expressed concerns about potential break-ins and customers driving under the influence.

The applicant has also submitted a licence application to the LCRB, which is still in the preliminary review stage.

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