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Trio of pot shops on council agenda

Proposals to establish three more retail cannabis stores in Prince George are on the agenda for this Monday night's city council meeting. Two privately-run ventures are seeking approval to open stores in Tabor Plaza at 100 Tabor Blvd.
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Proposals to establish three more retail cannabis stores in Prince George are on the agenda for this Monday night's city council meeting.

Two privately-run ventures are seeking approval to open stores in Tabor Plaza at 100 Tabor Blvd. and downtown at 1533 3rd Ave., previously home to The Bridal Outlet, while B.C. Cannabis Stores wants to open a shop in Spruceland Mall.

Some opposition is being raised, particularly to the proposal for Tabor Plaza which is being brought forward by the owners of a private liquor store also situated at the mall.

In a letter to council, neighbouring Zion Lutheran Christian School raised a concern about impact on school enrollment.

"Our school is small and any negative influences can have a significant impact when families are choosing a location to send their children for their education," school chair Steven Burke said.

In another letter, Dr. Terah Albertson, whose dental office is in the plaza, said a cannabis store will affect her practice's professional image.

She also said recreational cannabis poses a risk to oral health.

"Cannabisisreadilyavailabletothosewhoneeditformedicalreasons.Non-medicalcannabis stores are not necessary," she added.

And in a third letter, Ryan and Amanda Yorston said they are against establishing a cannabis store in a residential area where there are schools, bus stops and playgrounds nearby.

However, Terry Storey of Nechako Learning Centre at Tabor Plaza, said the store will be an improvement and argued it will allow them to move to a larger spot in the plaza and take on 24 more children and two more staff.

With a liquor store already in the plaza, Storey said a cannabis store will make no real difference and could reduce the vandalism the site has suffered since the Mr. G convenience store was closed.

As for the Third Avenue proposal, brought by Victoria-based businessman Ian Laing, it has won a degree of support from the neighbouring University Hospital of Northern British Columbia Auxiliary thrift store.

But while auxiliary president Lindy Steele said it could even help boost the store's business, she also said parking has been an issue in the area and asked if the cannabis store's customers will abide by the city's prohibition against smoking within 10 metres of a doorway.

On the BC Cannabis Store proposed for Spruceland, two area residents raised concerns about the type of people it could draw, the affect on the already-high rate of crime in the area and on the problem with littering in the area.

All three applicants have submitted plans showing how the stores will be operated and the steps to be taken to deal with security and preventing minors from entering the stores.