Last month Meridian provided further details regarding regulatory options to the township for the commercial cultivation of Cannabis.
Cannabis is grown in one of three ways: as an outdoor crop possibly protected by hoop houses; in greenhouses and in warehouse-type buildings in industrial areas.
Indoor cannabis production and processing facilities that are in a settlement area, on lands zoned for industrial uses, are now considered an industrial use by the Province. These facilities require a minimum of 500 metres between production and processing facilities and sensitive land uses – eg residential areas.
Outdoor cannabis cultivation is considered an agricultural use, and is subject to the Minimum Distance Separation guidelines applicable to any agricultural use. One of the objectives is to reduce the impact of odour from livestock herds. Odour is also one of the primary issues surrounding cannabis production, according to the consultant. In Pelham just south of St. Catharines, an industrial cannabis production facility has been the subject of odour complaints but the issue seems to be beyond their area of influence, and a legal dispute is underway.
To ensure the strongest control over indoor cannabis production, the consultant recommended that any production facility should require a Zoning By-Law amendment and only be permitted in Urban and rural Employment zones, Agricultural and Rural area zones, and applicable Oak Ridges Moraine areas, with a minimum 300 meter separation distance from sensitive land uses. This approach would ensure that all issues surrounding any proposed new cannabis operation would be considered on a case-by-case basis and give the township the ability to require specific studies and mitigating measures and public input in each proposal. Council agreed.
The next step is a virtual Open House event on October 18th at 5 PM followed by a statutory public meeting in November prior to a final decision in December. KG