NATIONS Cannabis near Burns Lake was not spared from the havoc COVID-19 has created for many workplaces recently. The construction of their new facility has now come to a grinding halt, because of the founders’ concerns about putting workers at risk of contracting the disease. Wes Sam and Marc Storms released a statement on their Facebook page, March 20, addressing the issue.
“Greetings to everyone in the Burns Lake area, and those following us from away. We have not been able to avoid the impacts of this latest societal challenge, and so we have opted to temporarily put all construction of our Burns Lake Cultivation Facility on hold. In addition, our staff working out of the BLNDC office will now be working from home,” they wrote in the post.
The BLNDC building is the is the Burns Lake Native Development Building.
Sam and Storms wrote that they were concerned that continuing work would specifically create unneeded risk for their families and friends, as well, adding that “nothing is worth that risk.”
In the post they say that while this does cause a delay in their progress, they should still be on track with building, and should be able to be in the cultivation game by summer.
“NATIONS has instructed our on-site security that public access to the site is not permitted at this time. From the staff and owners, we send our heartfelt wishes to stay safe, enjoy family, and follow the recommendations by our Public Health officials.
Wrote Wes Sam & Marc Storms (Founders),” read in their post.
When asked for more detail about the issue, Storms and Sam responded by email to Lakes District News.
“Much of the work that is required in the current phase of construction of our cultivation facility requires individuals to work in close proximity. Given the health warnings and advice by B.C.’s Public Health Officer with respect to social distancing, we have put construction activities on hold until such time as we can complete this work in a safe manner,” they said.
They weren’t able to give an estimate of how many workers were affected by this because the work is contracted out to multiple different companies who hire their own staff. At any given time, there were multiple contractors on the job building the facility, they said. They also weren’t certain how those workers would be compensated for the delays in construction, because that would be the area of the private contractors.
But they added it does negatively impact both of them, as well as the investors. And the cannabis industry at this time is not eligible for government compensation, they added.
Despite this, their main concern is keeping people safe from the dreaded COVID-19.
Both are hoping construction can start again soon, but can’t say when. It will depend on government and public health advice. Once construction is able to start up again, they believe only three months will be needed to complete it.
“This is frustrating for everyone involved – NATIONS, our contractors and their respective employees – but we all realize the significance of the pandemic and we all need to take this matter seriously,” they wrote in their email.