Owners of John B Pub Set to Open Cannabis Shop in Coquitlam

The property’s co-owners are looking to rezone a property a few doors down.

A second Coquitlam pub is about to open a cannabis retail store.

On Monday, June 20, City Council conducted the second and third readings of the bylaw for the co-owners of the John B Pub to rezone a property a few doors down.

If given final approval, siblings Brent and Tara Lepinski – children of pub founder John – will launch Northern Lights Cannabis at unit B-1052 Austin Ave.a location currently with an art and photo studio.

The Council’s decision came after a public hearing during which the family’s agent spoke about the request and a number of high profile business leaders expressed their support.

Lisa Landry of the Austin Heights Business Improvement Association (BIA) told council his group supports the proposal because the Lepinskis have a history in the neighborhood of being good corporate citizens and helping with fundraisers.

She added that if there is going to be a cannabis store in the area, “then they are” the ones who own the license and run the store given their experience with regulated products.

Former BIA general manager and area resident Erin Davidson also appeared before the board in support of the deal, as well as Leslie Courchesne, CEO of the Tri-City Chamber of Commercesaying the John B is a “pillar” in the community.

Austin Heights businessman Paul Manocha, whose Beyond basic eyewear sits opposite the pub, also spoke of the success of the John B and welcomed the addition of retail.

If OK’d, the store would be on the south side of Austin Avenue between Nelson and Marmont streets and would employ 14 people.

It would be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

But the offer has also drawn opposition, with neighbors warning the council about the extra traffic, the store’s proximity to children’s places and negative neighborhood changes.

Northern Lights was the only cannabis retail store recommended by city staff; two other proposals — from Burb and Inspired Cannabis — were also on the council’s radar for Austin Heights, but were rejected at the May 30 public meeting.

The council said it wanted to stick to the framework it voted in last December allowing six stores in five neighborhoods (in parentheses, businesses with prior approvals):

  • Austin Heights (Northern Lights Cannabis)
  • Burquitlam (Imagine Cannabis)
  • Lougheed (seed and stone)
  • Maillardville (Brunette Cannabis Company)
  • Downtown (The Local Leaf Cannabis and KJ’s Best Cannabis)

The Brunette Cannabis Company is expected to be attached to Woody’s Pub on Brunette Avenue, another well-known pub in South Coquitlam.

Laura J. Boyer