WATCH: The owner of a martial arts school in south Nanaimo is upset about her new neighbours. They are sandwiched between a marijuana dispensary and a Cannabis Plant store. The owner says many parents have pulled their children from her martial arts school since they arrived and she says such businesses shouldn’t locate right beside one that involves children. Kendall Hanson reports.
For the past five years, parents have been taking their children to Skillz Nanaimo to learn martial arts.
The school ensures children are physically active and teaches them self-defence.
But it’s owner says the arrival of new neighbours has been a significant blow to their business.
“It’s been very significant,” said owner Rebecca Stephens. “We’ve lost in the past couple of months between $10,000 to $20,000 in billing.”
About six months ago a cannabis plant store opened on one side and then within the past month, a marijuana dispensary opened on the other.
At the martial arts school, they say it’s resulted in repugnant smells, unsavoury traffic and unwanted exposure to an adult business.
“We had a lot of parents complaining,” said Stephens. “We had a lot of students leave.”
“I would rather it move cause there are so many kids,” said mother Michelle Gould, who takes her kids to martial arts. “I don’t have anything against those types of stores but the location isn’t ideal for what they have.
The martial arts school has complained to city hall and the RCMP but so far nothing has happened.
“I’m not against medical marijuana,” said Stephens. “I think there is a need for it here, just not right next door to where kids learn. I think that’s common sense.”
Nanaimo’s mayor says the RCMP will intervene if there are enough complaints and other municipalities that have regulated the industry, such as Victoria, have seen a lot of extra costs.
“And the regulations may be all thrown in the garbage at the end of the day because the federal and provincial regulations will supersede them,” said Mayor Bill McKay. “I think it was wise of Nanaimo to take a hands-off approach until we got guidance from the senior levels of government.”
On the other side of the building, there are now three marijuana dispensaries but the owner of Skillz Nanaimo says they’ve had little impact.
One cannabis social media marketer says even other dispensary owners say there shouldn’t be one right beside a martial arts school.
“There’s already, in that block, three four other places so why do they want more competition, especially if it has bad publicity?” said Nicholas Howard.
CHEK News spoke to a partner of Canna Corner and Clone Corner but he declined to speak on the record.
There are now 18 cannabis dispensaries in Nanaimo with more expected to open.
The martial arts school is hoping there are some interim regulations because she would like to see her neighbours gone.