Residents forming strategy to combat proposed medical marijuana production facility in Deep Bay/Bowser

Woman concerned about the facility's proximity to elementary school

Another proposed pot operation has neighbors up in arms.

Keith and Sean Reid, a Vancouver Island father-son duo, have applied through Health Canada to open a medical marijuana facility in Deep Bay, on the corner of Highway 19A and Gainsberg Road.

Earlier this month, The NEWS reported Wildflower Marijuana Inc., a Vancouver-based company, also applied to open a medical pot operation in the River’s Edge community of Nanoose Bay, where residents have been rallying against the company’s intension to set up shop.

And similarly, the most recent news isn’t sitting well with at least one longtime Bowser resident.

“This is terribly unfair to the local community,” said Dianne Eddy Friday afternoon.

Eddy, president of the Mapleguard Ratepayer’s Association, said she is planning a “strategy meeting” within the week calling together Deep Bay/Bowser residents who share her concerns.

“This is devastating to our whole area,” she said. “We will be planning various strategies.”

Eddy said she is concerned about the location of the proposed facility which she says is close to the community’s elementary school — she is also worried about water, security, traffic and odour issues.

Eddy said there are 1,200 homes in the area, most of which will be affected by the presence of a pot operation.

“You could imagine having a bakery in the middle of a neighbourhood and the lovely smell of baking would flow through the community,” she said. “Well, this wouldn’t be a lovely smell — in fact, it’s indeed a very pungent smell.”

She said a pot facility would take away from the “beautiful spectacular area” of Deep Bay, fearing it would “become a slum.”

And while Keith Reid told The NEWS last week the facility was intended to be “relatively small,” Eddy is concerned the operation will expand in the future.

“This is a very large lot (the proposed site) and there’s no doubt once it is industrialized it will be expanded,” she said. “They (the government) will legalize the drug (marijuana) and at that point they’ll be able to sell right from here (Deep Bay).”

Regional District of Nanaimo director Bill Veenhof, who represents Deep Bay/Bowser, said he would rather see a medical marijuana facility set up as an industrial activity on industrial land.

However, Veenhof said when the province of B.C. declared medical marijuana production an agricultural activity they “took every decision making opportunity out of local government’s hands.”

Veenhof said local government representatives are “essentially spectators” between disgruntled residents and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Last year, the federal government passed into law Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. The regulations describe the application process for producers and to whom the producers can sell their product. It also includes things like security measures that need to be utilized by a producer. An individual can get a prescription from a physician for marijuana. That individual can then purchase marijuana through a licensed producer. The producers can also sell to other licensed producers and even export their product.

A news release issued by the RDN confirmed Health Canada is the licencing authority for medical marihuana facilities stating the RDN is not the approval authority for any proposed medical marijuana production facility.

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