Electoral Area F Director Julian Fell presides over the public hearing on bylaw amendments on cannabis production at the Bradley Centre, Feb. 5. Beside him are Paul Thompson, RDN manager of long range planning, and NIck Redpath, RDN planner. — Michael Briones photo

Pot production unwanted in Area F ALR

RDN listens to concerns at cannabis bylaw hearing at Bradley Centre

More than 20 people attended a public hearing on the regional district’s proposed zoning bylaw amendments on cannabis production in the Coombs area.

Attendees had some concerns they relayed to Electoral Area F Director Julian Fell, who presided over the hearing held at the Bradley Centre on Feb. 6.

The Regional District of Nanaimo has proposed amendments to Bylaw 1285.31 and Bylaw 500 in response to the federal government’s pending legalization of non-medical cannabis this summer.

The current bylaws allow production of only medical cannabis. The bylaw amendments will include recreational or non-medical cannabis and also clarify the language used in the bylaws to reflect federal legislation on production of cannabis.

In bylaw 1285, cannabis production facilities are currently permitted on land within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and within the Industrial 2 Zone in Electoral Area F. The bylaw amendments propose to also include cannabis production facilities as a permitted use on land zoned Industrial 1 and Industrial 3.

The board has granted first and second reading to the amendments. Before the board considers third reading, the public was given the chance to provide input and feeback to the proposed changes.

At the hearing, the RDN was able to listen to a few comments. Most of the concerns focused on production of cannabis on agricultural land. Respondents don’t agree with it.

Among them was Theresa Leface of Errington, who wants cannabis production to be limited to the industrial zone only and not include the agricultrual lands.

Dave Coombs of Port Alberni also does not agree that agricultural land should be used for cannabis production. He calls it “foolish.”

“I thought we won the lottery when I heard my old mother’s place over here is going to be zoned for marijuana. And then I find out it’s going to be on ALR land also,” said Coombs. “I couldn’t believe it would actually say go ahead and cover up all the nice green ground with a bunch of cement buildings.”

One resident was disappointed that there are no discussions on the use of agricultural land for cannabis production, which under the current bylaw is permitted.

“Essentially, right now, any land in the ALR is allowed to have a commercial growth facility,” said Paul Thompson, RDN Manager of Long Range Planning. “The provincial agricultural commission has allowed permitted use so we have to get in line with that.”

Fell said because of provincial dictate, the RDN has no option.

Sandy Forest from Coombs Road had concerns about the possible runoff and effluent that would be coming from the cannabis facilities, which she said may contain pesticides and fertilizer.

She said these should be regulated to prevent them from contaminating ground water or waterways.

“This is heavy-duty industrial agriculture, and they can affect the water,” said Forest.

All input and feedback the RDN received from the hearing, as well as online, will be presented in a report to the board before third reading of the bylaw amendments will be considered.

Just Posted

Parksville residents hear compelling tales from recovering young addicts

Speakers emphasize need for detox and treatment centre, shelter in the area

REVIEW: ‘Grace and Glorie’ a moving tale of death and friendship

Two women convey characters convincingly and with humour

Jordie Lunn, world-renowned mountain biker from Parksville, dies in accident

The 36-year-old was with friends trail riding in Cabo San Lucas when the accident happened

Island man restores 1962 Qualicum Beach fire truck he bought for $1

Vintage vehicle in working order and ready to hit the road

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Most Read