A 2,450-square-metre industrial medical cannabis growing facility may be built in Chilliwack by the end of this year.
Chilliwack city council gave introduction and first reading Tuesday to a request to rezone an industrial property from general industrial to special industrial for the construction of the federally licensed Medical Marihuana Production Facility (MMPF).
Medigreen Wellness Products (MWP) out of Vancouver put forth the application for the facility at 8300 Aitken Rd., which will also require an OCP amendment all of which will be discussed at a public hearing on Feb. 6.
The company is in the final stages of becoming a licensed producer under Health Canada’s regulations. MWP describes itself as a producer of industrial hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products that are non-psychoactive.
If the rezoning is approved, and if the company gets Health Canada approval, the facility will be used for the cultivation, growing, storage and distribution of medical marijuana. There will be no onsite retail sales permitted.
As part of its application the company provided numerous reports about the facility, including on sanitary sewage discharge and traffic impact.
But it is air quality that city hall is most concerned about. To deal with that, a staff report presented to council recommended a restrictive covenant be registered on title. The conditions include that an odour control system be put in place in accordance with the expert opinions of two consultants on air treatment.
Another condition is a “good neighbour agreement” be signed to establish a protocol to deal with complaints. The effluent discharge into city sewer systems will also be monitored twice monthly to ensure compliance with rules.
The unique triangular 2.2-hectare property in question on Aitken is bounded by the CN railway to the north and Atchelitz Creek to the southeast and Aitken Slough to the southwest.
The closest residential homes are on Chilliwack Mountain roughly 600 metres away.
The project first came up at the Nov. 27, 2017 meeting of city council at which time a decision was made to pre-consult with the Atchelitz First Nation, but as of the presentation of the staff report presented at the Jan. 23 meeting, no issues were raised by the band.
Back in 2013, city council got ahead of the transition to new rules in 2014 for medical marijuana grow operations by creating the M6 special industrial zone as the only place the operations would be allowed.
At that time, council excluded the practice from agricultural land, but in 2015 the then-BC Liberal provincial government amended the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) rules to say federally licensed medical marijuana production is a farm use.
The move forced municipalities to write new bylaws to regulate, but not prohibit, marijuana growing in the ALR, something Coun. Chris Kloot called at the time “unfortunate and disheartening.”
The Feb. 6 public hearing at Chilliwack city hall is at 7 p.m.