Wild Coast Canna looks for new location for micro-cultivation cannabis facility

Wild Coast Canna looks for new location for micro-cultivation cannabis facility

Vancouver Island regional district forced to re-run cannabis hearing

Wild Coast Canna Inc. is re-thinking its plans for a large-scale cannabis facility west of Port Alberni.

The company cites proposed changes to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District’s cannabis zoning bylaws as the reason why it is now considering a new home for its “cannapark.”

Wild Coast Canna announced last June its plans for a cannapark would have seen a 377,000-square-foot cement based facility dedicated to indoor craft cannabis growing operations, and a further 25 acres of outdoor grow operations built near Port Alberni’s municipal airport. The company had an agreement to purchase the former Pine Dell Farm property situated between Great Central Lake Road and Airport Road, a few kilometres west of the city.

READ: Cannabis ‘campus’ planned for Alberni Valley

“We’re not pulling out, we’re just examining all the options that we have to push our project forward,” said Brian Harris, CEO of Wild Coast Canna. “The way it’s unfolding with the ACRD it’s obvious the bylaws are going to be changed. That just won’t work for us any longer,” he added.

“We have an obligation to our stakeholders to move ahead.”

Harris’s plan involves micro-cultivation: he envisions multiple small-craft cannabis growers utilizing the larger facilities, much like the craft beer market champions small, localized breweries.

READ: Sproat Lake residents oppose large-scale cannabis production in their neighbourhood

The ACRD’s proposed bylaw amendment would prohibit all new cement-based buildings for cannabis production as a permitted use in all zones (including A1, A2, A3 and M1), leaving no legal options for indoor cultivation in the region. Outdoor cultivation is still permitted in the Agricultural Land Reserve, which is provincially-regulated.

Wild Coast Canna could still use the property that is within the ALR for outdoor cultivation, Harris confirmed. While they won’t be able to submit building plans for the cement building they had in mind if the bylaw is approved, they are considering whether they could break up the micro processes into different locations: growing in one place, extracting cannabis products in another, research and development somewhere else, he said. The company’s designers are also looking at whether greenhouses—set on a dirt surface and not cement—would be a suitable alternative.

“While this is a setback for the industry, we hope in time, this community will begin to acclimatize to new norm of cannabis legalization and begin to treat cannabis as the legal agricultural crop that it is,” Harris said.

“Until then, we remain committed to building a home for independent micro-cultivators in another location and are in discussions with a number of communities that have expressed keen interest in our project.”

Wild Coast Canna’s statement comes on the heels of the ACRD announcing it will have to re-run its public hearing on the proposed changes to its cannabis bylaw after some rules were broken.

The hours-long public engagement session took place on Tuesday, Nov. 19 and drew more than 100 people to the Cherry Creek Community Hall to talk about increased regulation for cannabis growing facilities.

READ MORE: Alberni Valley residents ask ACRD to put brakes on cannabis industry

But CAO Doug Holmes explained during a board meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 27 that “at least” two letters were accidentally ommitted from the public agenda. He added that conversation also took place with area directors after the public hearing, which isn’t legally allowed.

“We’ve talked to lawyers about the situation and, based on our conversations, we are recommending to the board to re-do the public hearing,” said Holmes.

Before a new public hearing takes place, the board will also be reviewing and updating its public procedures bylaw. The current bylaw states that correspondence from the public can be sent to any of the board of directors, staff or ACRD reception, which is how letters are sometimes missed.

“It is conceivable that there could be another letter lurking out there in the spam folder of one of the electoral area directors that we don’t even know about,” added Holmes.

ACRD staff will be “tightening up” the correspondence process so that the public knows where to send information in the future, reducing the possibility of documents going astray.

The new public procedures bylaw will be brought back to the ACRD board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 11, after which a new public hearing will be scheduled.

The ACRD board was supposed to give third reading to its cannabis production bylaw last Wednesday, but that has been delayed until another public hearing takes place.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelly McGiffin, left, Dwayne Stern, batboy Jackson McGiffin and Kirk McGiffin are reviving the Port Alberni Cubs—this time as an over-55 baseball team. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s McGiffin brothers revive Cubs baseball at 55-plus

The boys of summer are 55-plus now, but back on the baseball field

The intersection at 10th Avenue and Dunbar Street. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Safety improvements planned for Port Alberni intersection

10th Avenue and Dunbar Street is an “intersection of concern” based on incident data

Members of Huu-ay-aht First Nations conducted two checkpoints on Monday, May 10, asking people who enter the territory to respect the sacred principles and to act accordingly while on Huu-ay-aht land. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Huu-ay-aht First Nations set up checkpoints in territory

Access restrictions come after forestry incidents

Bulldogs forward Brandon Buhr is knocked off the puck by Grizzlies defenceman Lindsay Reid. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs beaten back-to-back by Victoria Grizzlies

Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions while Bulldogs take second place

In 1903, if you were looking north down First Avenue with Alberni in the distance, this is what you would have seen. Scattered houses along River Road are visible, as is the corner of Watson Block building in the lower lefthand corner of the photograph. This photo is part of the 24,000 online collection of the Alberni Valley Museum. View this one and more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN02975 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Historic street scenes of Port Alberni

Take a peek back in time with the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read