Marijuana Factory - Issues
1. FOOD SECURITY (Huguette or Carla for more info)
Our rural areas (Area D & E) have already recognized we need local food security based on healthy agriculture so allowing large tracks of land to be paved over goes completely contrary to the bylaws in our Official Community Plan.
From Area D & E Official Community Plan (OCP) 4.2.19
Support local agriculture through favourable consideration of proposals that enhance local agriculture through the strengthening of beneficial agricultural practices, support of local food systems, and the expansion of local markets and agri-tourism. The community supports sustainable, traditional and organic agricultural practices in Electoral Areas “D” and “E”.
11.2.8 Promote the region as a sustainable rural environment, where planning considers the environment, social and economic aspects of the community. This environment is anticipated to be a strong draw for new business opportunities that require a healthy, clean natural environment such as: health retreats, and natural or organic farming.
CHALLENGE: Your areas already grow hay for horses not used for food, trees, food that is exported, etc...why fight marijuana that is proven to be medicinal and better than alcohol?
ANSWER: Hay, trees, were already here and are not high demand but since we have our own cooperative that buys and sells from locals many are now producing for locals. We don't want to start another industry that goes against what our community has decided in our OCP.
2.1 QUANTITY (Kevin Brown, Richman family for more info)
Already many residents lack enough water to be self-sufficient so adding high demand non food crops like marijuana (require almost twice what wine grapes do) will deplete aquifers and could lead to failures down the road. Kevin Brown add more here?
CHALLENGE: Current proponents say there is ample water. How can you know? And where should they go?
ANSWER: We know neighbours don't have enough and what may look like plenty now might turn out to be a different story after a year or two of drought.
We think all industries belong in an industrial park.
2.2 QUALITY (Huguette or Carla for more info)
We're worried as to what an industry that is permitted to use more than 95 pesticides as well as various chemicals will do to our local water. This industry borders a small creek that goes into the Shuswap River, upstream of one of the most important salmon- producing systems in B. C. and the source of water for many residents.
CHALLENGE: What if the industry treats and recycles all their water? Why should they be seen as worse than all others in the area?
ANSWER: We know that the Chilliwack illegal grow-op that was in a bunker had a huge chemical spill and we know that whenever toxic stuff is used it doesn't just disappear so if it's taken out of the water than it's in soil or other medium and it all has to go somewhere and eventually makes its way in the environment so this is a huge concern.
3. LOCAL ECONOMY (Trish for more info)
Local homes have already been devalued just knowing about it. One resident's property that was for sale has already gone down by $100,000 and lost its sale offers. Who would buy a home next to an area covered with pavement and buildings the size of a Walmart with all that that entails? And what happens if and when that place fails? Just this week (Dec 4) plans for a massive cannabis facility in Okanagan Falls (Sunniva Inc.) have significantly scaled back because they lack funds. People are realizing the gold rush is not what it seemed.
CHALLENGE: So basically you're saying Not In My Back Yard? That's Nimbyism!
ANSWER: That's exactly right. If everyone took care of their own backyard then we'd all have better communities. This community is our backyard and we all came here because we loved it as it is and we want to keep it this way. So we say NIMBYs of the world Unite!
CHALLENGE: But the company and the region say this will bring economic benefits to your area.
ANSWER: Nothing in the project proposal provides any relevant economic data, nor any detailed analysis of the societal costs or supposed economic benefits to the region. Until there is a full cost/benefit analysis it looks like the company will gain but the community will feel the pains.
4. FLAWED PROCESS (Doug Neill for more info)
The BC government states that the role of an area director is "to determine the wishes of the people that he or she represents before voting on matters on the Board's agenda." There isn't one neighbour who is for it. Yet our director supports this industry saying the community wants it when in fact we were not made aware of the plans for this until almost 2 years after the District started working on it and when our Advisory Planning Committee voted 6 to 1 against it last November.
The vote taken by the Regional Agricultural Advisory Committee in November was flawed – it was 6 FOR, 5 AGAINST but one of the people who voted FOR was in direct conflict of interest. Julie Pilon has publicly spoken for Amber Green saying it provides her with a way to sell the product she grows.
Our director as well as the Village of Lumby have written to the ALC (Ag Land Commission requesting that they make an exception and allow the proponents to pave 100,000 sq feet of the land despite the OIC passed recently based on 3 flawed arguments:
1 – That the community supports it when it clearly does not
2 – That municipalities have been caught off guard by the new OIC -
While the lack of knowledge of regulations by RDNO is of concern, to accept ignorance of regulations as a reason to not apply the rules would be a terrible example to anyone who ever needs to apply to RDNO for such things as building or fire permits etc
3 – That Amber Green would have been granted the building permit within a couple of weeks if the OIC had not been issued - Until permits are granted no one can testify that they would be since why bother having regulatory processes with dates and deadlines if the outcome is already a foregone conclusion? Will RDNO be equally accommodating if a community member begins a project weeks before receiving necessary approvals?
5. OTHER SIGNIFICANT CONCERNS
Fire: Growing cannabis in indoor operations requires high temperatures (25º to 30ºc) in strong light and presents very high fire risks.
Flood: Paving 100,000 sq feet of land can lead to high flood situations.
Pollution: Light, noise and air pollution are all probable outcomes of this type of industry and certainly should not be in a watershed that is home to a diverse range of ecosystems as well as several provincially and federally listed threatened and endangered species.
Poisoning of Animals: Super rat poisons are traditionally used to keep critters away from the plants – this poison makes its way up the food chain poisoning land and aquatic life including local cats and dogs that eat dead mice or other animals.
Regional Climate Action Plan: Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are produced at a rate of two pounds of CO2 per joint. How does that affect Lumby, Area D and Area E's Climate Action Plan?
Health Issues: The stress of having to fight this type of project is taking a toll on residents who fear that life as they know it will be forever changed. Living in chronic stress situation leads to serious health impacts including insomnia, weakened immune system,high blood pressure, heart attacks and more.
|Rural vs Industrial||Industries with 10' chainlink fencing, heavy traffic, etc...destroy the natural beauty of rural residential farming communities and property values.|
|Impact on rural economy||Impact on land values of the whole area, on food security, on rural tourism, turning farmland and a rural area into an industrial area goes contrary to the type of economy people are building in this community and to the type of lifestyle stated in our Community Plan|
|Water quantity & Impact on locals||plans to use 3,500,000 litres/year,|
|Water quantity & impact on aquatic milieu||RDNO's Sustainability Plan says Shuswap is “home to a diverse range of ecosystems and several provincially and federally listed threatened and endangered species….and is one of the most important salmon-producing systems in British Columbia. It provides habitat and spawning grounds for a wide variety of resident and anadromous (sea run) fish species.|
|Wastes quantity and toxicity – septic is near stream –||growing soil or medium, insecticides, herbicides & fungicides (needed for mold control), disinfectants, cleaning agents, plant nutrients that are corrosive (so potent that they can damage or destroy metal), unused phosphates, chemicals from making various products, rodenticide or other agents used to kill mice and small mammals|
|Light pollution||Health Canada and Insurance may/will require strong lighting – Veg Pro lights up whole highway|
|Noise from building phase||Building phase is likely to take many months – semi trucks on dirt road, back up sounds all day make life impossible -|
|Noise from industrial phase||Noise levels in Lavington affect farm animals – horse owner said no reproduction since 4 years due to high levels of stress on animals – impacts on people and wildlife|
|Air Contaminants and Odour||Intense, eye-watering stench prevent people from going outdoor and opening windows... constant exposure to concentrated chemicals trigger severe headaches, asthma episodes and other respiratory problems.” Heavy traffic from trucks and cars exhaustingnitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide will create severe air pollution - Increased emissions of nitrogen oxides from boilers, and volatile organic compounds (specifically, terpene emissions) together can react in the atmosphere and lead to secondary formation of ground-level ozone [smog]|
|Explosions & Fires||high energy requirements combined withhigh levels of industrial equipment and extraction processes can lead to fires and explosions as are happening in many places – should be in Lumby where fire fighters can reach quickly not on Shafer road|
The Union of B.C. Municipalities, the voice of local governments in the province, had asked the Provincial Government to put a moratorium on the use of agricultural land to grow cannabis.