A cannabis production facility has been approved in Lacombe County near Blissful Beach on Sylvan Lake.
The county’s municipal planning commission unanimously approved a three-year development permit for father and son cannabis producers Kim and Ben Schmitt.
For the past three years, the Schmitts have been producing cannabis under a Health Canada Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes licence, which does not require municipal approval.
However, they want to branch into production of recreational cannabis, which does require a sign off from the county.
The Schmitts will produce cannabis in three greenhouses totalling 5,147 square feet on the property, which also has an office and workshop. All of the cannabis-related activities will take place in the greenhouses and the property will have security fencing as required by Health Canada.
Before going before the planning commission, the Schmitts sent 162 letters detailing their plans to neighbouring residents. Only three responded with concerns.
Among the issues raised was the potential for odour.
Kim Schmitt told the planning commission that they have no odour complaints in the years they have been growing medical cannabis. The plants are all kept in the greenhouses, which are equipped with filtration systems.
Blackout curtains will prevent nighttime light pollution, another concern raised.
Schmitt asked the planning commission if they would extend the approval for four years to give them more time to operate before having to seek re-approval, which would also require sending out the letters to all neighbours within 1.6 kilometres.
The commission stuck with the three-year approval.
County planner Peter Duke said typically new businesses are given a three-year development permit. If there have not been any issues, it is extended to five years on first renewal and up to 10 years when renewed a third time.
The county will inspect the operation at least once each year and will respond if there are any complaints, Duke told planning commission members, which is comprised of members of council.
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