Rural marijuana

Re: the proposed medical marijuana plant in Deep Bay.

Re: the proposed medical marijuana plant in Deep Bay.

On Dec. 1, 2013 Releaf Medicals Inc. of Parksville wrote RDN Area H representative Bill Veenhof outlining its intent to apply for a producers license under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes regulations on ALR land at the corner of 5015 Gainsberg Rd and Highway 19A. However, despite rumours, the residents of Area H only learned of this application through an article in a Sept. 2014 issue of The NEWS. It was only then that our RDN rep Bill Veenhof announced this by newsletter.

This became a major concern for Deep Bay and Bowser residents during the recent RDN elections, who worried about ramifications to the local public school (400 meters away), our water supply (Deep Bay wells are directly across the highway from the proposed plant) and crime implications as on site storage of processed marijuana is expected to be in the millions of dollars, which I believe makes the site a high-risk environment.

Because of a lack of information available on the project, we decided to take a look at the brand new Tilray Medical Marijuana plant in Duke Point. Far from any residential area, it is in the remote Biggs Industrial Park, a perfect location for such a facility. This is a 5,300 square-foot, high-security plant with a 10-foot-high chain link fence topped off with multiple strands of barbed wire and with “Restricted Access Site” signs posted along its length, locked steel gates, surveillance cameras and vigilant security guards.

Although we parked across the road, by the time I had exited the car, camera in hand, a security officer was on his way out, stopping this silver-maned senior in the middle of the road. It was obvious that our five-minute conversation was being recorded on his radio as he received a few messages from inside. I asked if we could have a guided tour of the facility to which I received “absolutely not” in reply. As I began taking shots of the facility he told me he realized as I was on public property he could not prevent me from taking photos, but just as he left a delivery van was exiting the gate and he called over warning me not to take photos of the van.

The RDN sent letters to Health Canada opposing both the proposed Yellow Point and Paradise Acres medical marijuana plants. Although the latter motion was moved by Veenhof and seconded by Parksville’s Marc Lefevbre, despite vocal and written concerns of local residents, so far no such motion has been introduced by our rep concerning the application in residential Deep Bay.

Ross WaltonDeep Bay

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