A pair of companies plan to construct a cannabis production facility in Courtenay — but they have yet to apply for a building permit.
The proposed location for the indoor facility is 3310 Fraser Rd., near Millard Nature Park off Island Highway South. It’s designed for up to 100,000 square feet. A news release from Edmonton-based Atlas Growers says the estimated annual production capacity is 42,000 kilograms of dried cannabis, between the proposed facility and another in Alberta.
Atlas has broken ground on a 38,000 square-foot medicinal cannabis facility in Lac Ste. Anne near Edmonton. It’s scheduled to be complete in September. The company expects to receive cultivation and sales licences from Health Canada this year.
Subject to completion of financing, Atlas intends to begin constructing the Courtenay facility in the next two months.
“That is probably not completely offside,” said Clint Weir, vice-president of business development and co-founder of Atlas. He feels it can be done in “relatively short order,” pending an environmental assessment, traffic study and hydrological study.
“We’re basing those comments on best-case scenarios.”
Atlas has partnered with Comox Valley-based Coastline Cannabis, which has changed its name to Coastline Canada.
“This was Coastline’s original project,” said company president Richard Park, co-founder along with Dylan Hardie. “There’s an odd perception that we’re a big, bad corporation, but we’re all locals.”
Atlas and Coastline have applied to Health Canada and spoken with staff at the City of Courtenay, which has received a referral from Health Canada, in response to zoning.
“Because it’s in the ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve), we’re not permitted to restrict them in the ALR,” said Ian Buck, director of development services. “We advised them (Coastline) in January that they needed a building permit, and would likely have significant servicing issues…There’s no sewer and water to that property.”
Coastline has engaged a consultant to determine costs, and whether the City can provide proper flow rates, Park said.
“If they’re unable to do that, Atlas’ facility in Edmonton — and this is part of the reason why we partnered with them — is that their facility doesn’t have access to any sewer or water.
“All their sewage and water is through septic and low water, and they developed their own pond.”
The City has encouraged both companies to reach out to the neighbourhood.
“Although they’re not required to, we think as a good corporate citizen, given their announcement, they should be meeting with the neighbourhood, talking about their plans,” Buck said. “They did indicate they would be doing that.”
Park said the company plans to consult the community by way of knocking on doors, and hosting open houses and community forums.
“We look forward to hearing back from the community. This will literally bring 60 to 100 jobs to the Comox Valley Regional District. Triple bottom line: they will be good, living wage jobs.”
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