Sundial Growers is the cannabis company looking to open up their grow operation near the airport. This week, their development permit was before council creating a healthy dialogue between councillors.
The recommendation on the table for council was; That Council direct staff to issue the development permit subsequent to the submission of the following: renderings, building elevations, irrigation plan, and payment of the landscape security.
From the very beginning Councillor Melvina White spoke to her support of the project but wanted to defer the decision.
“I want to make it very clear that I’m 100% for this development, but I do have concerns about the smell. There have been a number of people in the community that are concerned about it and I just feel that we need to put this on hold for a week or defer it for a week or two and get this right,” said White. “We don’t have any rules or regulations of any sort. This is all brand-new territory and I really do think we need to address this odour issue.”
“I believe Councillor White’s concerns are valid, but to suggest that there aren’t any rules or regulations and it’s all wild wild west, I don’t think is fair,” said Councillor Mike Bhangu.
According to Director of Corporate Services Sean Smith deferring would put the city in a precarious legal spot.
“For better or for worse, and I get that it wasn’t with this council it was with the previous council, where M1 was selected as a spot that was okay for cannabis production. Those are the laws and that’s the laws under which this particular developer acquired the property, they made the decision to come to Merritt in the first place. It would place us in a somewhat precarious legal position, were we to try using a permit to hold, even in a short-term basis, back a particular development,” said Smith.
“Having heard a lot of the information here and the decision to acquire the land by Sundial with information provided by the previous council that we’re in a difficult position that we have to pick one or the other. Not making that decision right now would put us in a difficult position,” said Councillor Adam Etchart.
In the end the motion was approved by council with a 6-1 vote, White was the only one in opposition.
Two other provisions were set to be discussed including a request for a private well, and further direction on a requested road closure and location of a right of way. Due to the meeting running long those non-pressing matters were deferred to a later meeting.
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