Proposed marijuana-growing business faces opposition in Upper CoverdalePosted by On

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Efforts to set up an indoor cannabis-growing operation in Upper Coverdale is running into opposition from the neighbours.

And many of them showed up angry at a public meeting this week.

The person behind the project, Gina Brown of Anchor Cannabis, said the community is having a hard time accepting the project.

For the small-scale indoor operation, known in the business as micro-cultivation, to be approved, Brown’s property would need to be rezoned as commercial industrial.

This led to Wednesday’s public meeting in the community about 17 kilometres west of Moncton.

But Brown said the questions and concerns raised at the meeting had less to do with industrial rezoning and more to do with concerns about cannabis in general.

“[They] wanted to know how exactly we were planning on growing and trimming and drying, you know questions that you know necessarily aren’t … needed for rezoning,” she said Thursday.

According to documents posted on the South East Regional Service Commission’s website, Anchor Cannabis wants to build an indoor/outdoor operation, with the indoor space set aside for growing cannabis limited to 400 square metres.

Diagram of proposed building and property to be rezoned. (Southeast Regional Service Commission website)

While it is the service commission’s responsibility to zone the land for growing cannabis indoors, it is Health Canada that actually licenses producers.

However, Health Canada mandates that producers have facilities completely built before the department issues a licence.

Neighbours not happy

Fiona Doiron, who lives in Upper Coverdale, said she found the public meeting flawed.

“Unfortunately, the planning commission told us at the beginning of the meeting that their initial recommendation is going to be to approve the rezoning,” Doiron wrote in an email to CBC News. “Why would they invite us into that forum if they had already made up their minds?”

Doiron said she doesn’t oppose the growing of marijuana but doesn’t want a commercial operation in an area now zoned residential.

Not the first time

“She will be building a 63 X 66-foot warehouse, 20 feet high with an eight-foot chain-link fence with barb wire, motion sensors and cameras. So the residents that live next to her will have this in our backyards.”

Brown said there will be security cameras and fencing, as required by Health Canada, but no barbed wire. She also said calling it a warehouse is not an accurate description. 

This isn’t the first time a potential pot grower has faced local opposition since the drug was legalized in 2018.

A man wanting to start an operation in Nasonworth, outside Fredericton, faced opposition to his business from residents concerned about water quality and about odours from the business.

Gina Brown and her partner Jared Murphy own Anchor Cannabis and want to add a building to their property to grow plants indoors. 6:01

Brown has seen a similar reaction.

“There’s about 200 angry neighbours,” she said. “It wasn’t necessarily the place to have a good conversation.”

Brown said she has lived in the community for four years and until now has had no issues with her neighbours.

She said she doesn’t think her proposed business would change the neighbourhood.

“I hope they don’t throw me out and give me a chance to show them, you know, what a micro-cultivation is,” said Brown.

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