Company irked with council rejection

An Airdrie-based company that proposed a medical marijuana facility for a Red Deer business park was extremely disappointed that its rezoning application failed at city council on Monday.

An Airdrie-based company that proposed a medical marijuana facility for a Red Deer business park was extremely disappointed that its rezoning application failed at city council on Monday.

Some councillors had questions and concerns about the Medcan Solutions Inc. application mostly about odours, and had received letters from seven nearby businesses that opposed the facility in West QE2 Business Park who worried about odour, property values, security and truck traffic.

“We’re sort of reeling from the decision yesterday. We don’t know what our next move is at this point,” said Wendy Konschuk, co-founder and director of Medcan Solutions Inc., on Tuesday.

“We came with full transparency. There is in fact possibly going to be a faint odour emitting from this but it is not going to escape off the property.”

She said the medical marijuana industry gets discriminated against and “the fear mongering those letters produced were effective on council.”

“People need to understand this isn’t a grow-op. There’s a real stoner-vibe mentality that the general public holds on to. It’s an unfortunate negative stigma that needs to change.”

She said Health Canada has strict regulations for medical marijuana production.

Rules pertain to location, security, growing method including air quality controls for odour, storing, disposing and transporting marijuana.

The application to turn a vacant building at 94 Burnt Park Drive into a medical marijuana facility failed to pass first reading when the vote tied 4-4 on Monday. More information would have been available at a public hearing to further discuss the application had it passed, followed by second and third reading.

Medcan can resubmit the same application in six months, or look for another Red Deer site. It could also significantly change its initial application. Or look to another municipality.

“There are other irons in the fire. We have been talking to people up north. Some other opportunities have been opened up to us. We’re still working on it. We haven’t given up. This isn’t the end of us. We all believe in this. We all believe this is the right thing to do,” Konschuk said.

It was the first time Medcan submitted an application in any municipality to develop a medical marijuana facility.

Prior to the vote, a motion was put forward by a councillor to delay first reading for at least six weeks so city administration could do more research on the medical marijuana production for council. The motion failed.

Konschuk, who attended Monday’s city council meeting, said she was prepared that night before the vote to answer councillors’ questions.

Applicants do not address council during first reading, but can be asked to speak at the discretion of the mayor or councillor leading the meeting.

“We were hoping to be given the opportunity but it seemed that nobody wanted to hear it from us,” Konschuk said.

Coun. Frank Wong led the meeting during first reading on the rezoning. Mayor Tara Veer recused herself from the discussion and vote to avoid conflict of interest as she was previously approached by the applicant on the project.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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