“We are a focal point of healing for the Port Alberni community and the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations. To risk it being shut down for a cannabis facility is a disgrace”
An Alberni Valley treatment centre is fighting the construction of a nearby medical cannabis facility and hopes that the federal government may intervene on its behalf.
Premium Meds Cannabis was granted a Health Canada licence to construct a 57,000 sq.-ft medical cannabis cultivation facility just across the street from the treatment centre. Its building permit was approved before the district established its cannabis production regulations.
As is often the case with incoming cannabis cultivation facilities, many neighbours and community members are opposed to its development, having compiled at least 500 signatures on a petition to block production.
Staff at Kackaamin Family Development Centre in Beaver Creek say that neither they nor the community surrounding the facility was consulted before construction was approved.
Staff at the centre are concerned about odours emanating from the facility, which they feel could detract from treatment efforts and prove a distraction for the children who attend elementary school and/or daycare onsite.
Last month, local MP Gord Johns sent a letter to Patty Hajdu, appealing to the federal Health Minister to intervene.
“I am asking you to review the file immediately, listen to the legitimate concerns being raised, and intervene so that this valuable treatment centre is not forced to close its doors,” Johns wrote.
Premium Meds owner and local resident Mona Sadeghi says that the facility has met its requirements and poses no danger to Kackaamin.
“It’s the first I’ve heard about it. We met all the Health Canada regulations. We met all the ACRD regulations. We met ALR regulations, so I don’t know on what basis,” Sadeghi told Alberni Valley News.
“They say they’re concerned about addiction paths. What’s meant to be will be and what’s not meant to be will be.”
Although centre reps say that they can’t afford a prolonged legal fight, they have enlisted the help of lawyer Patrick Canning.
“Kackaamin is a focal point of healing for the Port Alberni community and the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations,” Canning wrote in a letter to Health Minister Hajdu and federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett. “To risk it being shut down for a cannabis facility is a slap in the face to these nations, and a disgrace to Port Alberni and Canada.”
Sadeghi says the community’s concerns about the facility are unwarranted.
“We don’t want to interfere with any other operation,” she said. “They feel cannabis is a drug and is going to affect their clients. I don’t understand … there is going to be no smell, no sales.”
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Written by Emma Spears