Cannabis facility sign of changing agricultural land use in South Okanagan - InfoNews

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Cannabis facility sign of changing agricultural land use in South Okanagan

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board of directors are pictured in this file photo. The board debated a proposal to build a 12,000 square metre medical cannabis facility north of Oliver Thursday, June 21, 2018.
June 22, 2018 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - Agricultural use of land isn’t what it used to be.

That from Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen West Bench director Michael Brydon during board discussions involving a variance on a Secrest Hill Road property for a medical marjiuana grow facility north of Oliver at yesterday’s regular board meeting, June 22.

Board members were discussing the pros and cons of the proposal and others like it, with Brydon responding to comments about possible future cannabis overproduction and a cannabis facility’s effect on agricultural land.

He said there were potentially many agricultural uses for the proposed 12,000 square metre building should cannabis operations fail in the future, such as strawberry production.

“We don’t have to go to doomsday scenarios,” he said, but added he would have liked to have seen this proposal go somewhere else.

“We have allowed medical cannabis as an agricultural use and as a result we’re finding agriculture isn’t necessarily nice to look at,” he said in response to neighbour's complaints about the rural landscape being ruined.

“It’s evolving,” Brydon said of the Okanagan’s agricultural industry.

The director’s arguments over this particular proposal were largely moot, as the proponents made it clear they could fall back on a permitted option of housing the facility in a much larger (44,600 square metre) greenhouse should the variance application fail.

The board agreed to approve the variance, Area “D” director Tom Siddon and Area “G” director Elef Christensen opposed.

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