Public hearings include pitch to mix cannabis sales with liquor store space

New Westminster is set to double the number of public hearings it’s held since the pandemic began in March in just one week.

Heritage, cannabis and development proposals are among the items city council will consider at public hearings being held on Sept. 28 and Sept. 30 – the city’s second and third public hearings since March.

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Proposals being considered at the public hearing taking place on Monday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. include:

*Zoning amendment bylaw for 320 Sixth St. The city will consider whether to allow a retail cannabis store to open in part of the space now occupied by the River’s Reach Liquor Store.

*Heritage designation bylaws for 219 and 221 Manitoba St. The heritage designation bylaws would provide heritage protection to the 1909 house at 219 Manitoba St. and the 1911 house at 221 Manitoba St. (These homes were relocated to the sites in late 2018 as part of a heritage revitalization agreement for the adjacent 1910 house at 218 Queens Ave.)

City council’s Sept. 28 meeting also includes an “opportunity to be heard” about proposed amendments to the business license bylaw, which would allow cannabis edibles products to be sold in locations where the retail sale of cannabis is permitted. Additionally, the public will also be able to provide comment about an application from Landmark Cinemas to vary the city’s sign bylaw so a larger sign can be erected at the downtown site.

Two nights later, the city will hold a second public hearing to consider a zoning amendment bylaw application from Urban Academy that would facilitate a proposed expansion to its school at 466 Rousseau St. The expansion, which would consist of a 106-square-metre (1,140-square-foot) addition on the fourth floor and a 494-square-metre (5,317-square-foot) addition on the fifth floor, would allow the school to create additional space for classrooms, a kitchen, office space, common areas, washrooms and more.

That public hearing is being held on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, city council meetings and public hearings have been being held remotely on Zoom since March.

“Everyone who logs into the electronic meeting may address council,” said a notice about the public hearings. “Advance registration is highly recommended. The meeting will be run via a Zoom webinar. Written submissions by email, post, or dropping off at the mailbox on the north side of city hall are welcome and encouraged.”

The meeting ID number for the Sept. 28 public hearing is 617 5151 7378 and the ID number for the Sept. 30 public hearing is 652 4965 7067.

According to the city, there are three ways community members can participate in the public hearings:

*Computer. You can go to www.zoom.us, click on “Join a meeting” and enter the ID when prompted and click Join.

*Smartphone/tablet. You can download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app, open it, select “Join a meeting” and enter the meeting.

*Phone: You can call 778-907-2071 and enter the meeting ID followed by #.

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