Evergreen Medicinal operates this marijuana bunker near Michell Farms in Central Saanich near the border with Saanich to grow medicinal marijuana. Saanich plans to pass bylaw changes that would prohibit such bunkers for growing recreational marijuana on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Black Press file photo)

Saanich to smoke out pot bunkers in Agricultural Land Reserve

Pending bylaw changes will crack down on high-yield structures

Saanich has specified the conditions for local farmers who want to grow marijuana on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Bylaw changes awaiting ratification stipulate federally-licensed pot farming in the ALR qualifies as farm use if it happens in an open field; in structures, whose respective bases consist completely of soil; in pre-existing structures (such as greenhouses with concrete pads) constructed for the purpose of growing crops; or structures for the purpose of growing crops under construction prior to July 13 — the deadline identified in a Aug. 15 bulletin from the Agricultural Land Commission concerning the cultivation of marijuana in the ALR.

Cannabis growing operations that do not meet those conditions represent non-farm uses that require approval from the Agricultural Land Commission under provincial regulations that allow municipal governments to control but not restrict the conditions of cannabis production.

RELATED: Saanich wants bunkers to be off limits for cannabis growing

Saanich council asked staff earlier this year to develop measures that would limit construction of the bunker-style pot-growing facilities in the ALR.

“The fear is we’ll see a proliferation of concrete-style bunkers on farmland which will render the fields otherwise useless,” said then-councillor Dean Murdock. “We’re more concerned with activities as part of the production that is detrimental to farmland.”

Proposed changes to Saanich’s bylaws will go before council on Monday. If approved, they will give the marijuana industry additional guidance when it comes to cannabis production on ALR land in Saanich.

RELATED: Central Saanich pot farm now on hold

A Saanich councillor has already voiced opposition to most of the pending bylaw changes.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers said she “adamantly” opposes cannabis production on land in the ALR or land zoned agriculture outside the ALR with the proviso that she is open to open field growing.

“It [cannabis production] is an industrial use,” she said. “It deserves to pay industrial tax [instead of farm tax]. It is not organic.”

Chambers said she would like to consult with the public about the various aspects of producing recreational cannabis. “This is going to be a huge business on Vancouver Island,” she said, adding that the production of cannabis represents a “climate change favourable business.” While it will require regulation and education to ensure community safety, it could boost Saanich’s business and industrial sector, said Chambers.

“I envision a funky light industrial area with local businesses and crafters [among others], potentially with mixed housing,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Fire destroys South Island Concrete building in Sooke

No injuries resulted from large structure fire

OUR VIEW: Search and rescue organization needs to be examined

No organization should be immune to scrutiny

Over 100 take the Vancouver Island polar plunge

More than $25,000 raised for BC Special Olympics athletes

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

Most Read