A marijuana business slated for Cumberland is set to break ground this week.
Trugreen Solutions, operated by Michael Arneja, has received approval after a lengthy waiting game with the Province. It is one of two operations approved at the local level by the Village of Cumberland.
“We have all the municipal, provincial and federal approvals and permits,” Arneja said via email.
The Third Street business is holding a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday afternoon at the site, and Arneja is inviting the Cumberland community down for the event.
“I’m going to put a tarp down, have some dirt there, grab a shovel, say a couple things,” he said.
He has asked the mayor and other representatives of the Village to take part as well as Chief Nicole Rempel of the K’ómoks First Nation. He wants to hold a brief spiritual ceremony to bless the land where the Trugreen Cannabis Store will open.
“It is also an opportunity to traditionally ask for forgiveness and protection from the earth,” he said.
The event will run from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 12 at 3276 3rd Street in Cumberland. There will also be light snacks and refreshments.
“Everybody’s invited,” he added.
Arneja, like other operators in the province, had to go through a multi-staged approval process. This involved different branches of the provincial government looking into different aspects of a plan. This includes the proposed business site plans, a financial integrity check and security check of the company.
He is not sure when he will open the doors. The current building is an old auto shop and needs to be retrofitted. Arneja, who works in construction and operates Griffin Restoration, says he only has to finish some construction work to adapt the site for the new business. The work could run through the fall for a winter opening, but he does not have an exact date to open the doors, though he is already looking for staff to work at the store.
The Village of Cumberland issued temporary use permits to two proposed operations earlier this year. The other applicant, Beaufort Botanicals, has also been waiting for provincial approval. It received local approval recently for a separate licence with the City of Courtenay.
The Comox Valley Record contacted the company for an update on its provincial application for the Cumberland licence but had not heard back by the time the story went to press.