Red Deer is getting a medical marijuana facility that will focus more on research and less production.
City council voted 4-3 in favour of allowing MedCan Solutions Inc. to develop its facility in a 35,000-square-foot vacant building at 94 Burnt Park Drive in West QE2 Business Park.
On Monday night following a public hearing, councillors Paul Harris, Ken Johnston, Lawrence Lee and Lynne Mulder voted in favour of a land use bylaw amendment to allow the proposed facility. Councillors Buck Buchanan, Frank Wong, and Tanya Handley voted against the bylaw.
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. Councillor Dianne Wyntjes, whose relative owns land in the area, also recused herself from the meeting.
Council initially rejected the application in July because of questions about odour and security. In August, they decided to reconsider the project being proposed for a business industrial-zoned area that required a site specific exemption for the facility. The city’s Land Use Bylaw relegates medical marijuana facilities to heavy industrial zones.
Wendy Konschuk, co-founder and director of MedCan Solutions Inc., said the number of flowering plants, which produce most of the odour, would be reduced to about 100.
“We revised our original facility design in order to accommodate the I1 zoning concerns around odour. Specifically, we will reduce the number of flowering plants dramatically and instead use most of the available space for pharmaceutical laboratory operations, processing, shipping, all things which are actually suited to this zone and warehouse setting,” said Konschuk at Monday’s public hearing on the medical marijuana facility.
“We will not emit any odours outside the building whatsoever.”
And she said security will be very tight.
“The facility will be protected by a multi-million dollar security system similar to that of a national bank in Canada, and will have a multi barrier intrusion detection system, as well as 24-hour manned security.”
Deputy mayor Buchanan who chaired the hearing said the facility was in the wrong location.
He said there may be a bylaw in place to prevent odour, but there is also a bylaw to reduce noise and the city has been dealing with that issue for a couple of years now.
Three property owners located near the proposed site spoke against locating the medical marijuana facility in the business park.
Allan Fertig, owner of Allan Dale Trailers and RVs, said the city doesn’t provide enough police protection for the business park right now.
“It costs me $50,000 roughly a year in losses from damages and due to theft. People are stolen (from) and robbed and broken into on ongoing basis. There is no police presence in Queen’s Industrial Park. None. Zero,” Fertig said.
Councillors said they had been unaware of the problem and requested city administration provide council with a report on crime in the area within the next four weeks.