The town of Olds’ challenge to control cannabis odour crept into the debate as Red Deer County councillors considered a pair of marijuana production facilities.
The micro cannabis operations unanimously approved on Tuesday by the county’s municipal planning commission are a fraction of the size of the Sundial facility in Olds that has generated smell complaints from town residents.
However, Olds’ predicament was very much on the minds of the planning commission, which is comprised of all members of council.
Coun. Jean Bota was in Olds two weeks ago and said the cannabis smell was obvious.
“Like, it was bad,” said Bota.
“I know we have conditions in here,” she said of the application to operate a 680-square-foot cannabis facility in an industrial building in Clearview Industrial Park, just south of Red Deer.
“If there are complaints, if there is an issue, will there be immediate action taken?” Bota asked county planning staff.
Planning manager Treena Miller said staff have been monitoring a cannabis facility already operating in one of the county’s industrial parks and no odour has been detected.
Given the small size of the proposed facility — which will be used for packaging and labelling cannabis products, not growing them — no issues are expected.
Among the conditions of approval is that the facility meet all of its Health Canada licence requirements and that it “not emit any odour or other substance which is harmful or injurious to health or physical well-bring.
As well, the facility cannot “emit nuisances including, but not limited to, odour, noise and light that may have a negative impact to adjacent sites or the surrounding area.”
“We’re pretty confident the odour is addressed and looked after,” said Miller.
Mayor Jim Wood, who said he has spoken with Olds council members about the smell, also sought assurances that odour would not become a problem.
“There are odours in Olds right now that do not make everyone so happy.”
In Piper Creek Business Park, another cannabis company plans to open a 9,300-square-foot facility — about half of which will include cannabis growing space — that will be built inside an existing 12,600-square-foot structure.
Coun. Philip Massier asked if there would be any retailing at the site, given the proximity of facilities such as the sports dome.
Told there would be no retail sales on site, Massier said, “If there are no sales, then I’m 100-per-cent happy. I just didn’t want to have a sales facility near where kids are.”
Neighbouring businesses were informed of the application. One letter was received from a business concerned about smell and the potential impact on property values.