Parksville mayor Marc Lefebvre says the city secured a $20,000 non-refundable deposit from Wildflower Marijuana, a Vancouver-based company looking to set up a medical marijuana facility in the city's industrial park.
Lefebvre said the money will go towards the company securing a piece of city-owned land in the industrial park where Wildflower's facility is slated to go — if it gets the green light from Health Canada and city council.
The mayor said he's "interested" to see how this all pans out.
He said if Wildflower is able to set up a facility in Parksville, the company will create 50 to 70 "good-paying jobs," giving the city an economic boost.
Lefebvre said the company said it will pay normal rates for water and sewer and is expecting to spend $15 million on improvements.
"I believe it's an ideal location — it's out of sight and out of mind," said Lefebvre. "I want to sit down and look at the details."
Lefebvre said the city has also agreed to the sale price of the land at $870,000, which he says, is close to the market appraised value.
The size of the facility is undetermined.
Wildflower Marijuana CEO William MacLean could not be reached for comment by press time Monday.
Wildflower Marijuana is best known in this area for its recent attempt to set up a medical pot operation near the River's Edge neighbourhood in Nanoose Bay, just over the municipal border from Parksville. River's Edge residents organized quickly and loudly to oppose the project. The company has formerly stated that the negative media attention caused by River's Edge residents was noticed by Parksville, who approached the company late last year.
The Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) came into effect on April 1, 2014. The MMPR and its predecessor, the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR), provide the only legal means for Canadians, when supported by a physician, to access marijuana for medical purposes. Health Canada must approve a facility before it starts production. According to the Health Canada website, there are 15 licensed producers in the country.
The issue was expected to come up at Parksville's city council meeting Monday night. See Thursday's edition of The NEWS for more on this story.