RDOS cannabis production bylaw goes to public hearing

Hearing on micro cannabis production facilities will be held Nov. 21

A bylaw proposal to allow micro cannabis production facilities on certain properties within the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has passed first two readings and will now go to a public hearing.

The bylaw has generated plenty of opposition, especially from Naramata residents, where one of these facilities is already in operation.

The concerns raised were about the effects of the facilities on neighbourhoods and on property values. Concerns about noise, odour, light, fire and security were also raised.

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“If cannabis facilities are approved in residential neighbourhoods, they could have a significantly negative impact to the surrounding properties,” Mark and Angela Verigin said in a letter to the regional district.

“I believe the minimum lot size should be four hectares, the setback from residential properties should be at least 60 metres,” said Jon Milligan. “There should be something in the bylaw limiting light and odour pollution and noise after 10 p.m.”

“I have a real concern about the impact on a residential neighbourhood,” Janie Gingell and Dave Watson said in .a letter to the regional district. “Cannabis production is indoor, not outdoor farming and more akin to manufacturing production than agriculture as envisaged when the ALR was created. I feel there is need for the bylaw changes to move with the times.”

“I am asking you to make sure to protect the quality environment (air, noise, smell, etc.) of our pristine region which makes money with wine production,” Renee Chamberland said. “Do we want our area to be known for its cannabis plantaions instead of its fruits and wine business in five to 10 years from now?”

“We are primarily concerned about the possibility of pervasive and obnoxious odours in the nightly downdraft that we have enjoyed in the 31 years that we have lived here,” David and Donna Andrew said.

Members of the regional district board also raised concerns about the effects of micro cannabis production facilities.

Richard Barkwill of Summerland said concerns about odour need to be addressed now, to prevent a problem in the future.

Board chair Karla Kozakevich said the regulations for micro cannabis production facilities, such as setbacks and other restrictions, should be tightened at the start. She said it is easier to maintain or relax regulations than to impose stricter regulations in the future.

A hearing on the bylaw will be held at the Nov. 21 board meeting.

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