Castlegar City Council is allowing a zoning amendment proposal from a company hoping to build several micro cannabis production facilities in south Castlegar to move forward to a public hearing.
The request was submitted by OTG Development Ltd. for 4605 Columbia Ave., a property across the highway from Ernie’s Used Auto Parts, near the Blueberry neighbourhood.
The 7.5-hectare property is zoned “rural” and the proponents have requested a change to the industrial park zone. Allowed uses for the current zoning include housing, childcare, agriculture, gravel processing, animal hospitals, museums and outdoor recreation.
The applicant has applied for a site-specific amendment to permit 4.86 hectares of the property to be used for Health Canada regulated, indoor, micro cannabis cultivation and processing.
In the city’s official community plan, the property is designated as light industrial. The proposal aligns with OCP policies and objectives, which encourage local manufacturing and diversification of the economy by enabling new industrial opportunities.
The company is proposing up to nine facilities phased in over a number of years.
Each facility would employ six or more full time employees and 10 or more part-time employees.
Access to the facility would be through Dube Road. Civic works staff report that improvements to Dube Road (and potentially the intersection at Highway 22) will be required prior to subdivision or development of the property. Consultation with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation will be needed to determine the extent of the required improvements.
Staff have also recommended that final approval be contingent on completion of a traffic impact study and any recommendations being completed.
The only aspect of the development currently being looked at is the zoning amendment. Things like the buildings themselves, landscaping, etc. would come as a separate conversation as part of the development permit process.
The city has already mailed notices of development to owners and tenants within 60 meters of the subject property.
A notice of development sign has been installed off of Highway 22 at the entrance to Dube Road and the Blueberry neighbourhood.
Staff reported that seven responses to the notices have been received by city hall and will be included in the package prepared for the public hearing.
The applicant proposes to host a public information meeting prior to the official public hearing and council’s consideration of final adoption of the zoning amendment. This is not a city requirement and city staff will attend only as observers.
The meeting is scheduled for Dec. 7, 2022, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Kinnaird Hall (2320 Columbia Avenue).
City council voted in favour of the first two readings of the amendment, which allows it to go to the public hearing stage. But Mayor Maria McFaddin clarified that voting in favour of moving the proposal forward does not imply that council is in favour of it. Rather, it is the mechanism to allow the public to express what they feel about the proposal.
The city’s public hearing will be scheduled and advertised in the coming weeks.