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Green Amber, an Ontario company, is seeking permission to pour more than 100,000 sq ft of concrete as a base for their planned industrial marijuana production facility on Shafer Road in rural Lumby.
Because the land is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, Order in Council 380 mandates that the operation be carried out on soil. But Health Canada requires that medical marijuana must be produced in a "controlled and sterile" environment, and a concrete floor protects against mould and other contaminants. Green Amber wants to process medical marijuana; hence their Application for an exemption. And the ALC will not contemplate such an Application without the explicit approval of the Regional District.
Approval seemed imminent when a group of citizens met Wednesday evening Dec.05 and organized delegations to the Electoral Area Advisory Committee (EAAC) "delegated public hearings" the following day (Dec.06). The EAAC initiated an amendment to the agenda of the next Board meeting, modifying the motion to approve the Application to a motion to defer it, pending extra work by the proponent.
Speakers objected primarily to its opening up of permission for "marijuana production" facilities on essentially any property in Area 'D' or 'E'. Directors heard upwards of 20 speakers giving reasons why this would amount to a free-for-all gold-rush approach to development in the marijuana industry. Environmental and social constraints would be able to be treated with impunity by developers.
Although no public input has ever been permitted regarding the Green Amber project, there were obvious implications for it in the preceding arguments, and the final portion of the meeting dealing with Green Amber resulted in the deferral already reported above.
However, By-Law 2799 was not discussed further, and a version slightly amended by staff appeared on the agenda of the Board meeting Wednesday Dec.12. Did the Board approve it (as amended)? This was the third reading; if the Board had given it third reading, it would have been "sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for endorsement prior to Final Adoption." (https://rdno.civicweb.net/document/113642/18-0619-B-TA_Zoning_Bylaw_Can…). However it was returned to RDNO staff for modification, in what way we don't yet know.
Kudos to all those who worked on this issue, without pay, and without much initial hope.
This industrial project belongs in an industrial park, not on rural ALR land. Here are the reasons why:
1 - SCALE: The scale of this project warrants informing residents about its proposal, yet locals were not informed. Just a couple of years ago the proposed Eco-Village in rural Lumby was refused since it aimed to use 3 of the 30 Acres for housing while keeping the rest in agriculture. Yet this huge project apparently does not even warrant rezoning nor informing neighbours.
2 - ALR Land: This project plans to cover more than 100,000 sq feet with concrete and to build commercial buildings that compare to the size of a Walmart. This goes against legislation introduced by the BC Agriculture minister on Nov. 5, 2018 which make it clear that land in the ALR is for farming and ranching, not for building mega-mansions or mega industries.
3- WATER: With increased drought, residents are already concerned about their water supply, and fear the additional draw, projected to be a whopping 3.5 million litres annually.
4 - POLLUTION: Residents are concerned about the effluent from the processing going on inside buildings located right on the edge of a waterway leading directly to the Shuswap River only 600 meters away. It is unlikely that 3,500 cubic metres of water every year will all evaporate or be recaptured; some must discharge.
5- TRAFFIC: Many trucks and other vehicles are expected to go to and fro daily, causing noise, dust, and above all danger both along Shafer Road and at its intersection with Highway 6.
6 - RURAL Living: If allowed, residents fear this industrial development would fundamentally change the atmosphere of their erswhile rural community.
For more complete details of the issues concerned, click here.