Sam Mellace has been growing medical marijuana legally on agricultural land in FVRD Area F for a decade. FVRD's proposed zoning bylaws will permit him to remain on his land

Sam Mellace has been growing medical marijuana legally on agricultural land in FVRD Area F for a decade. FVRD's proposed zoning bylaws will permit him to remain on his land

Grow-ops welcomed in some FVRD areas; shunned in others

Big differences in how electoral areas and cities propose to regulate medical marijuana production.

Local communities are adopting widely divergent rules when it comes to regulating the production of medical marijuana.

Electoral areas and municipalities in the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) are deciding whether or not they will allow commercial grow-ops in their territories – and if so, under what type of zoning. The deliberations come in advance of new Health Canada rules, in effect April 2014, that prohibit medical marijuana users from growing their own supplies and restrict all production to largescale commercial operations.

FVRD electoral area directors have submitted their proposed zoning regulations, and each has a different approach. Area D, for instance, has proposed to ban grow-ops completely; Area A has proposed to allow them everywhere within its boundary.

Director Bill Dickey represents Area D, which covers Popkum and Bridal Falls.

“My community has its own character and personality, and I looked at the community and talked to some of our citizens, and my decision was that it should be prohibited in our community. We’re not looking to encourage that type of business,” said Dickey.

Area A director Lloyd Forman welcomes legal medical marijuana production facilities anywhere in his area, which includes Boston Bar. Forman explained that when a sawmill relocated from the area to Surrey some years ago, Boston Bar lost 300 jobs, and the community went from being the wealthiest in the district to the poorest.

“Jobs are really crucial on the list. My theory is, give me 25 or 30 legal jobs, and I’ll take them. Period,” said Forman.

Without business moving to the area, Forman is worried the community will start losing its existing services – the grocery store, the gas station – and living there will be very difficult.

“Whatever it takes for that level (of services), we do need something. So if it’s a marijuana plant, my people do not want to be left without any services,” said Forman.

FVRD Electoral Areas B and G propose to allow grow-ops in agricultural, industrial, and rural zones, with the exception of Yale town. Area F seeks to allow them in agricultural and industrial zones, while Area C wants to allow them in agricultural areas only.

Abbotsford and Mission, each an FVRD member municipality, have bylaws under consideration that ban new grow-ops entirely. Chilliwack has opted to restrict them to a special industrial zone reserved for businesses such as slaughterhouses and asphalt manufacturers.

After FVRD staff draw up the draft zoning bylaw amendments for electoral areas, the proposed regulations will go to public hearing and for approval by the board of directors.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canadian Reformed Church in Chilliwack. (GoogleMaps)
OPINION: Churches that defy the law and public health orders are in the extreme minority

The nature of news coverage means that aberrations from the norm are what make the headlines

Projects recently approved by council will tackle homelessness in Chilliwack. (Black Press file photo)
Latest projects taking on homelessness in Chilliwack focused on pandemic pivoting

4 key service providers will share a blended fund of almost $160,000 in Reaching Home funding

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

These free, postage-paid postcards were sent to 13.5 million households across Canada. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Chilliwack Progress)
OPINION: Singing the praises of these postcards of positivity

I typed this ode to the loveliness of hand-written notes on a computer but the point still stands

Snow is still coming down in Hemlock Valley. (Emil Anderson Maintenance/Twitter)
VIDEO: Spring is coming, but snow sticking around in Hemlock Valley

If you’re up the mountain, don’t put away your toques just yet

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read