Rural Lumby and Cherryville residents hold demonstration against cannabis facility outside RDNO office Wednesday (submitted photo)
A proposal for a cannabis growing facility in rural Lumby has been deferred by the Regional District of North Okanagan board.
RDNO directors want the company, Green Amber, to conduct a hydrology study to determine the impact on the water system, and to hold a public information meeting.
The company is looking to get RDNO support for its application to the agricultural land commission for a 100-thousand square foot facility on Shafer Road in Area D, but nearby residents are opposed and say it should only be considered for industrial land.
About 30 residents of rural Lumby and Cherryville demonstrated before the meeting last night.
“I think the board should not defer the application, but exercise their authority to simply not forward it” said Doug Neill, a resident of rural Lumby. “The RDNO planning report gives three reasons to justify sending the application and all three are badly flawed or misleading. They refer to parts of their Official Community Plan that don’t reflect the overall agricultural policies and completely ignore the parts that are contrary to what is on the application. It should be quashed.”
The opponents say while Green Amber’s representative, Jonathan Fernandes, was talking and answering questions from directors, residents were not permitted to give input, and sat silent.
“People who have lived here for years and tried to grow food for the community found there wasn’t enough water year round to make a go of it” said resident Kevin Rouck. “Yet our regional district allows a corporation from Ontario to set up a huge industry that uses almost twice the water that wine grapes do, and right close to the Shuswap River, one of the most productive salmon rivers in BC. We sure hope the hydrology report will look at all this and not just say what the owner pays to hear.”
Trish Cory who owns a property across from the proposed industry is concerned about the effects on the neighbourhood.
“We have no problem with cannabis but we have a problem with 100,000 sq foot of paved buildings surrounded by chain link fencing. There will also be loads of traffic and trucks transporting high value products. If a robbery occurs the police could take 45 minutes to get there for they often have to come from Vernon. This puts the kids that live, walk and ride their bikes on the road at risk. The effect on property values has already been painful. We want this to go where it belongs, in an industrial park.”