Evergreen Medicinal operates this marijuana bunker near Michell Farms in Central Saanich near the border with Saanich to grow medicinal marijuana. Saanich plans to pass bylaw changes that would prohibit such bunkers for growing recreational marijuana on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Black Press file photo)

Saanich to smoke out pot bunkers in Agricultural Land Reserve

Pending bylaw changes will crack down on high-yield structures

Saanich has specified the conditions for local farmers who want to grow marijuana on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Bylaw changes awaiting ratification stipulate federally-licensed pot farming in the ALR qualifies as farm use if it happens in an open field; in structures, whose respective bases consist completely of soil; in pre-existing structures (such as greenhouses with concrete pads) constructed for the purpose of growing crops; or structures for the purpose of growing crops under construction prior to July 13 — the deadline identified in a Aug. 15 bulletin from the Agricultural Land Commission concerning the cultivation of marijuana in the ALR.

Cannabis growing operations that do not meet those conditions represent non-farm uses that require approval from the Agricultural Land Commission under provincial regulations that allow municipal governments to control but not restrict the conditions of cannabis production.

RELATED: Saanich wants bunkers to be off limits for cannabis growing

Saanich council asked staff earlier this year to develop measures that would limit construction of the bunker-style pot-growing facilities in the ALR.

“The fear is we’ll see a proliferation of concrete-style bunkers on farmland which will render the fields otherwise useless,” said then-councillor Dean Murdock. “We’re more concerned with activities as part of the production that is detrimental to farmland.”

Proposed changes to Saanich’s bylaws will go before council on Monday. If approved, they will give the marijuana industry additional guidance when it comes to cannabis production on ALR land in Saanich.

RELATED: Central Saanich pot farm now on hold

A Saanich councillor has already voiced opposition to most of the pending bylaw changes.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers said she “adamantly” opposes cannabis production on land in the ALR or land zoned agriculture outside the ALR with the proviso that she is open to open field growing.

“It [cannabis production] is an industrial use,” she said. “It deserves to pay industrial tax [instead of farm tax]. It is not organic.”

Chambers said she would like to consult with the public about the various aspects of producing recreational cannabis. “This is going to be a huge business on Vancouver Island,” she said, adding that the production of cannabis represents a “climate change favourable business.” While it will require regulation and education to ensure community safety, it could boost Saanich’s business and industrial sector, said Chambers.

“I envision a funky light industrial area with local businesses and crafters [among others], potentially with mixed housing,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Union president ‘cautiously optimistic’ school strike could end over the weekend

Saanich School District strike has kept staff, 8,000 students out of school since Oct. 28

Saanich school district parent pens open letter as CUPE strike continues

‘It’s not a strike that’s just affecting adults,’ wrote the parent who wants kids back in school

More people are being evicted from subsidized housing in Victoria, experts say

Closing of Pacifica Housing’s Fairfield Hotel a sign of ongoing trends

Holiday Country Grocer campaign returns to make children’s dreams come true

Proceeds from campaign go towards Help Fill A Dream foundation

VIDEO: Six months later, downtown Victoria business still feels the burn of Pandora fire

Sattva Spa stripped to the bare bones and won’t be operational for another year

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

Spokesperson says Hall of Fame feature on tap this weekend after co-host’s firing

Grand Forks residents protest on bridge to call for ‘fair’ compensation after 2018 floods

Demonstrators also criticized how long it has taken to be offered land deals

B.C. taxi drivers no longer exempt from wearing a seatbelt

Before, taxi drivers were allowed to forego a seatbelt when driving under 70 kilometres an hour

Car dash covered in papers not an excuse for speeding, Delta police warn

After pulling driver over for speeding, police found his speedometer blocked by a stack of papers

B.C. woman seeks return of jewelry box containing father’s cremated remains

Sicamous RCMP report handmade box was stolen from a storage locker

Most Read