The owner of a property next to a proposed cannabis production facility feels the proponents should not be allowed to build near Millard Nature Park at the south end of Courtenay.
Fraser Road resident Cheryl Glennie feels the land — which contains rich, rock-free soil — should be used to grow fruits and vegetables, not marijuana. She notes the area is a watershed and a wildlife corridor.
“I am not impressed,” Glennie said. “We have these big beautiful lots. My back yard is a forest.”
She said the late Ruth Masters had once owned the properties in the area.
“She extended the covenant around Millard Creek, so instead of the usual 30 feet she’s made it 60 feet.”
Comox Valley-based Coastline Canada has partnered with Edmonton-based Atlas Growers to build the facility at 3310 Fraser Rd. It’s designed for up to 100,000 square feet. The companies have applied to Health Canada and spoken with staff at the City of Courtenay — which has received a referral from Health Canada in response to zoning — but have not yet applied for a building permit.
Glennie hopes the proposed style of farming can be moved to an industrial area, but because the property sits in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the City is not allowed to restrict the two companies.
Richard Park, Coastline co-founder along with Dylan Hardie, says they have been consulting with stream keepers who help manage the area.
“We are hundreds of metres away from the covenant,” Park said. “We aren’t going to be touching it in acres. The covenant only pertains to the back half of the wooded lands. We have well over hundreds of metres in distance between us and the covenant. We want to stay as far away from it as possible.”
Though they are not required to complete an environmental assessment, Park says Coastline is conducting one regardless.
“Just because we are ALR doesn’t mean we don’t want to be good community citizens,” he said.
Glennie is concerned about smells and lights coming from greenhouses, and noise coming from heat pumps.
Park claims the operation will be half as loud as a nearby sawmill. Coastline, he added, has hedges lining the property, and plans to add a second row behind the existing hedges.
At this stage, he is not sure if the facility will incorporate a concrete bunker or a greenhouse.
“We’re still in the planning stages,” Park said. “The benefits of an indoor production facility is there would be no smells coming out of there whatsoever because everything would be contained. In terms of what’s best for the neighbourhood, an indoor production facility would probably be ideal.”
Park encourages the public to contact him with questions and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org