Green Mountain Health Alliance announced it is proceeding with the planned construction of its cannabis facility located at 760 Highway 3A in Kaleden.
According to a release from the organization, the work on the facility was halted due to ongoing discussions with the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and the receipt of a file closure letter from the ALC. Following property inspections on Aug. 15 and Sept. 4 at the construction site, the ALC stated there were “satisifed that the activity on the property is in compliance with the ALC legislation” in a letter to Green Mountain Health Alliance.
“We were ready to forge ahead with construction plans for our two-level administrative and nursery facility on Highway 3A when ALC regulations unexpectedly changed mid-July,” said company president Wade Attwood in a release. “With these legislative changes, our existing building design was considered ‘non-farm use’ under the new ALC regulations. We have since redesigned our buildings to meet our goals and also to comply with the new ALC ‘farm-use’ regulations.”
Green Mountain Health Alliance has secured a 16-acre parcel of land on the Agricultural Land Reserve in Kaleden that was previously impacted by ALC legislation regarding zoning and uses in the area. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen directors had staff prepare a bylaw amendment to prohibit the non-farm use of cannabis production within all zones where agriculture is listed. As a result, cannabis would be considered farm use if in soil-based building but not one with concrete floors, so those proposing cannabis facilities with concrete floors would need a zone change from the RDOS and additional approvals from the ALC.
“After the ALC’s new legislation was tabled, we have taken the time to discuss the changes with ALC officials, examine our company goals, and modify our plans to be in full compliance with the new regulations,” said Attwood. “From the start, our business model has centered on greenhouse growing, capitalizing on the abundant natural sunshine in the Okanagan Valley. We never intended on building ‘concrete bunkers’ for indoor cannabis production on ALR land, so modifying our plans was rather easy and will reduce construction costs in the long run.”
The company’s facility is planned with environmental sustainability and technology in mind and includes year-round rainwater capture and storage, closed-loop nutrient systems, and odour control mechanisms.
Attwood further stated in the release that “(the) greenhouse facility will be state of the art and suitable to grow a variety of crops now and in the future” and that “(the company is) looking forward to producing a high-quality medicinal product with great promise for many health conditions, all while creating jobs and contributing to the economic benefit and development of the Penticton area.”
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