Black Press file

Lack of water supply an issue for central Alberta cannabis production plant

Further information needed before council will look at development approval for Micro Grow

The process of gathering more information on a cannabis production operation in Ponoka County will continue.

On Mar. 20, Ponoka County council had requested administration look into how the proposed operation, located on county owned land on the west side of Highway 2A across from Maskwacis, would deal with waste and other issues such as water and sewer.

As a follow up, assistant CAO Tom Webber appeared at the April 9 meeting with an update, but left with yet another request for more details about the proposal.

Webber noted the owner of Micro Grow did come back with letters from the gas and electrical utility providers that stated there is more than enough capacity to supply the facility.

However, he explained the big issue remains the lack of a water supply.

“There is no water on site and the Samson (First Nation) band will not allow them to tie into their water system,” he told council.

“Furthermore though, the owner states that water is too hard and not conducive to be used in cannabis production.”

The long since demolished restaurant that was on that site had been fed by that system.

The county does operate a small system serving some homes and businesses in the area, but Webber stated it wouldn’t be expanded to that property and wouldn’t be adequate to service the needs of the operation anyway.

As a work-around, Webber added the owner is proposing to truck in water to a storage tank on site that will be used to water the plants. Any waste would be pumped into a septic tank.

Coun. Doug Weir questioned if the denial by the Samson First Nation was a rebuke of the proposal, but CAO Charlie Cutforth explained that is how it has been historically.

“We have attempted in the past to get a franchise agreement with them because we have a number of lots and businesses out there as all we have out there is one well that is not a good system,” he said.

“And nothing has changed since.”

For Reeve Paul McLauchlin, the issues are just how much water would be needed annually and what would be available for use in case of a fire, something Coun. Bryce Liddle was also curious about.

Webber explained that the fire department in Maskwacis would likely be the initial response, as the county does have a mutual aid agreement with them, but that the county is ultimately responsible for that area.

Despite the lack of water, Webber believes the real question is the longevity of the business.

“If it only lasts a couple of years, then all of a sudden there is a 5,000 square foot warehouse that would be virtually useless with no water,” Webber said.

In the end, council directed administration to go back and find out what the business has planned for water use, sewer and fire protection capacity.

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

Just Posted

Red Deer gets $7-million from province for an emergency 12/7 homeless shelter

Councillor says the location will be decided through community consultations

‘Finer focus on job creation:’ Alberta government files red-ink budget

EDMONTON — The Alberta budget is counting on oil and gas bouncing… Continue reading

WATCH: Tabling of the 2020 Alberta budget

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is scheduled to reveal the provincial budget at… Continue reading

VIDEO: Grumpy sea lion resists help back to water in Washington state

Crews were able to coax her into a crate to carry her back to water

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Gardening: Taking a break from the winter

Looking for a break from winter and dream of summer without leaving… Continue reading

Ottawa imposes new rules to protect fragile population of right whales

HALIFAX — Canada has rolled out new measures to protect the critically… Continue reading

Canada pumps nearly 900 billion litres of raw sewage into waterways since 2013

OTTAWA — Canada’s old-fashioned city sewer systems dumped nearly 900 billion litres… Continue reading

Federal government in good financial shape, provinces not so much: PBO

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals could add billions of dollars in spending… Continue reading

Ottawa’s LRT line leaves thousands out in the cold during heavy snowstorm

OTTAWA — Many transit riders in Ottawa were left out in the… Continue reading

All eyes on Wet’suwet’en chiefs’ meeting with federal, provincial ministers

SMITHERS, B.C. — The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation prepared… Continue reading

Scheer appears to backtrack on commitment not to allow debate on abortion

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer appears to be backtracking on a… Continue reading

Most Read