Residents in Lumby, B.C., concerned about proposed cannabis facility

They say there’s strength in numbers and that’s why so many people showed up to voice their concerns about a proposed medical marijuana facility just outside the village of Lumby.

The company, Green Amber, wants to build a 100,000-square-foot facility right next to Kevin Brown’s house. Brown says the proposed plant would be the equivalent of dropping a big box store next to his home.

“If you drop a Walmart next to someone’s house, does the value of that house go up? That’s how big this building is,” said Brown. “He (the applicant) has to light the entire building. There’s security fencing, security lighting.”

“We have a vacant property next door to us as well, and when I saw what Kevin would be looking at out of his kitchen window, I thought that could happen to next door to me as well,” said Lumby resident Doug Neill.

“It could happen anywhere around this neighbourhood, around this province. If this gets allowed, then it opens the door for facilities like this almost anywhere in this district and that’s just wrong.”

The home of Trish Cory and her husband Mike Cadden looks over the area where the plant is proposed. They’re trying to sell their home, but say the offers have dried up.

“The first week we had an offer coming in and that’s when it was exposed what was happening, and we actually lost our offer and pretty much every interested person has walked away,” said Cory.

Despite the objections from affected residents, the Regional District of North Okanagan approved the application. Regional director Mike Fairbairn supports it.

Fairbairn says he understands affected residents are upset, but says the applicant met all the criteria under Lumby’s bylaws, and he feels that growing cannabis is farming.

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Global News asked Fairbairn what he would do if the plant was proposed to be beside his property?

“From Day 1, I would endorse it thoroughly,” said Fairbairn. “We’re in the business of agriculture, developing agriculture and we’re here to promote agriculture.

“Commercial agriculture is what we do, whether it’s dairy, hog barns or chicken facilities — that’s what we do. And if it was next door or even here on my property, I would endorse that.”

Because the proposed plant is on agricultural land, the application still has to be approved by the Agricultural Land Commission.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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