The province’s Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has approved a controversial application for a medical marijuana facility in Beaver Creek in the Alberni Valley.
The applicant, Moni Sadeghi of Premium Cannabis Meds BC, was in the process of obtaining a building permit for the 57,000-square foot research and production facility back in 2018, when a moratorium on cement-based, industrial-style cannabis production facilities in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) came down from the ALC. Sadeghi was forced to apply for a non-farm use exemption for the plot of ALR land.
The proposal has been met with opposition from neighbours along Beaver Creek Road, who point out that the area includes a “dense cluster” of houses along a narrow street with no sidewalk or streetlights. The proposed facility will also be located directly across the street from Kackaamin, an addiction treatment facility.
Because of the controversy, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) agreed last February to pass the application on to the ALC for a decision.
Documents on the ALC website show that a site visit took place in September. The property will include two levels of fencing and a parking lot that will accommodate up to 19 vehicles, although Sadeghi does “not anticipate that there will be more than a couple of staff working at any given time.” The property is on metered water with the city of Port Alberni, and all runoff water will be addressed through an internal drainage system. All water displaced by the building itself will be drained by ditches into Beaver Creek.
The facility will also use high-efficiency air (HEPA) filters to address odour concerns.
In her application, Sadeghi noted that she had made “major financial commitments” up until July 13, 2018, when the moratorium came down from the ALC.
“Had we been told that we would not be able to grow indoors we would not have made these major commitments,” she said.
The decision from the ALC states that all forms of cannabis production are a farm use, although “certain other activities associated with cannabis production, such as fill placement or soil removal to construct a structure for farm use, may still require Commission approval.”
Sadeghi’s application was approved, after the ALC’s executive committee considered the size of the facility and determined that the amount of fill requested “is not excessive” based on the facility’s footprint.
The placement of fill must be overseen by a qualified registered professional with specific knowledge of soils, drainage and fill placement, added the committee.
A call to the ACRD was not returned by press time.