By Marianne Cole
A Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 9:00AM in County Council Chambers. The key points for the hearing are:
To hear the proposal to re-designate 40 acres of land from agricultural to light industrial. Element GP Inc. is proposing to construct a 55,000 sq. ft. cannabis (marijuana) production facility on the property. This property is located along Hwy. 22, just north of SH587 (the Bowden Road), on the west side of the road.
Earlier Clearwater County passed a Land Use Bylaw that stated, “Clearwater County should direct cannabis production facilities to locate in a business park.” The Bylaw, however, does allow for such operations as a “Discretionary Use” on land zoned, “ Light Industrial”, hence the proposal for rezoning.
In that Land Use Bylaw it also states in Section 7 that “All cannabis production facilities applying for a development permit on an industrial parcel not located within a business park, must be located outside of a 300m. radius from a property boundary that has any of the following attributes: (a) an existing residence.” The rezoned land would create a property boundary between it and the remainder of the land (with 2 residences on it) that falls within the above 300m. radius. Furthermore, immediately to the east across Hwy. 22 there is a property boundary that falls within the 300m. radius.
The county has, itself spent money on developing an industrial park in Caroline and it would seem fiscally responsible to encourage new businesses to establish there. The Caroline business park would also be seemingly more accessible, being located on a highway leading directly to the Hwy 2 corridor.
There are also other available industrial lots in the Pidherney’s Industrial Park along Hwy. 11 as well as Metal Dog Industrial Park north of Rocky on Airport Road. (Note: Developing in a business park requires a set-back restriction of only 50m radius from a property with an existing residence.)
The County’s Municipal Development Plan states, “Clearwater County shall consider agriculture as the primary land use within the County.” The MDP also states, “Public input during the preparation of this plan clearly indicated the conservation of agricultural land and water as especially important to the residents of the County.”
To re-designate 40 acres of agricultural land to industrial goes against the values in the above statements.
Allowing this re-designation opens the door to innumerable other applications and the possibility of cannabis production facilities all across the county, a serious issue the county was trying to avoid with the earlier passing of their Land Use Bylaw and its definitely positive restrictions.
In conclusion, there is also concern over the integrity/honesty/credibility of Element GP Inc. Upon researching info on this company I found the following:
“Element GP Inc. (ELEMENT Cannabis Group) is a new cannabis producer and supplier who is building a high technology, micro-climate controlled, vertical grow, cultivation and extraction facility locate approximately 15km. north of Sundre, Alberta”
How can they be advertising, on social media, that they are building a facility when there hasn’t been either a re-designation of the property or an approved development permit???
PLEASE, if you have time and opportunity, check out the county website (Council Agendas) for the complete agenda package/info for the hearing on Tuesday. Please call if you need help or want more info. (Marianne at (403)729-2493) You may also want to google Element GP Inc. for more info as well.
If possible, COME to the hearing and/or send your comments/concerns to: Rick Emmons, Chief Administrative Officer, Clearwater County, Box 550, Rocky Mtn. House, T4T 1A4; OR email Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org, OR drop off your letter at the county office prior to Tuesday. Anyone can make a presentation/read their concerns at the hearing.
PASS this information on to any of your friends or those involved with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Voice Your Opinion Rocky.
HAVE A GREAT REMAINING SUMMER AND THE CCTA WILL BE BACK ON TRACK IN SEPTEMBER