A discretionary use proposal for a cannabis production operation near the hamlet of Cathedral Bluffs was voted down by Corman Park council on Monday, November 19.
The application for an intensive horticulture operation was proposed for a 27.82 hectare parcel of land north of Township Road 382 just west of Cathedral Bluffs. The production, and packaging of cannabis was proposed for inside a 13,000 square foot, secure-access building. The operation would have been approved and regulated by Health Canada.
While the proposed operation met the requirements of the RM of Corman Park zoning regulations, there was substantial opposition to the application from area residents.
A notice of the discretionary use application was sent to all landowners within a 1.6 kilometer (one mile) radius of the proposed development. Concerns raised by residents opposed to the development included the potential for additional traffic and noise, decreased land values, the possibility of malfunctioning ventilation systems and potential odour risks, and the proximity of the proposed use to the Cathedral Bluffs playground.
High-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filtration systems are mandatory for Health Canada-approved cannabis indoor production facilities. However, many residents of the area suggested the potential odour from the operation may not be sufficiently mitigated by these filters.
Division 8 councillor Wendy Trask said much of the opposition of ratepayers is based on a fear of the unknown.
“This is an agricultural operation in an enclosed building,” said Trask. “There should be no smell. The fact is, these operations are legal, and they are here to stay. We can expect more of them. Once these are up and running, most people don’t even know they’re there.”
Division 5 councillor Art Pruim said he had serious reservations about the development, noting it should be located further from a country residential area.
“At the end of the day, I think it’s unwise to proceed with this project in this location,” said Pruim.