The grass might be greener on the other side of the border for Wildflower Marijuana.
Parksville’s CAO Fred Manson has confirmed the city is “in negotiations” with Wildflower Marijuana, but he insisted nothing has been finalized.
The Vancouver-based company may be setting up a medical pot operation in the heart of Parksville’s industrial park — if they get the green light from Health Canada. 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 posted a news release on its website Dec. 3 stating “Wildflower Marijuana Inc. is pleased to announce that it has come to terms on an agreement with a local British Columbia municipality to set up a medical marijuana growing facility within its jurisdiction.” Wildflower’s statement didn’t name a specific municipality.
Manson told The NEWS city officials have been in conversation with Wildflower about a medical pot operation for several months.
Wildflower’s news release said that “the city will not only allow for an (medical marijuana grow-op) application within its jurisdiction, but will also provide city-owned land to build the growing facility.”
Manson said, assuming this project goes ahead, the grow operation would be located within a 20-acre parcel of land purchased by the city two years ago for the Englishmen River Water Service that sits behind the city’s public works yard.
He said the size of the operation would be up to Wildflower.
Manson said a medical pot facility comes with economic perks for the city.
“Right now the property is municipally-owned so it’s exempt from all taxation,” said Manson, adding that if a medical marijuana operation were to be built, the value of the land would become taxable, along with all the improvements carried out by Wildflower. “And of course, all the jobs that come along with it.”
Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre declined to comment on the matter.
In September, River’s Edge resident Lehann Wallace, who appears to be leading the movement against Wildflower’s proposal to set up shop near River’s Edge, hand delivered a petition with more than 300 signatures on it to Regional District of Nanaimo officials. The River’s Edge community voiced concerns over the facility’s access points increasing traffic in the otherwise private neighbourhood, aquifer issues, groundwater contamination, environmental sustainability and security issues.
RDN director Joe Stanhope, who represents the area, pledged his support to the River’s Edge residents and wrote a letter to Health Canada opposing the company’s intentions.
Manson said the negative media attention drummed up by the River’s Edge community “had something to do with” the city’s interest in Wildflower’s project.
Wildflower Marijuana CEO William MacLean told The NEWS Saturday morning that the company was “actively pursued” by the municipality.
“It was based on them (Parksville) contacting us (Wildflower) to explore possibilities,” said MacLean from Vancouver. “We are very excited about what we have on the go right now.”
MacLean confirmed Wildflower Marijuana has not revoked any of their Health Canada licence applications, including the River’s Edge one.
He said a third application for the Parksville location has not yet been submitted to Health Canada, but “terms have been agreed upon” between the company and the city. He said there are “small hoops” that need to be jumped through before a submission will be made.
Health Canada has 14 licensed producers who are authorized to produce and sell dried marijuana in Canada. Wildflower Marijuana is not currently one of them.
It is unclear whether Wildflower Marijuana is able to transfer its application for the Parksville location from the River’s Edge location, or if it is required to submit a new application.