High Park farms wants to build a lot more greenhouses in Enniskillen Township.
But neighbours of the cannabis producer want the current air quality and light problems fixed before any more greenhouses go up.
May 7, Enniskillen Township will have a zoning hearing for High Park. The Lasalle Line greenhouse sits on agricultural land. Under that zoning, up to 20 per cent of the land can be covered with buildings. High Park will reach the 20 per cent once it completes four acres of greenhouse and a new building for a boiler which is already planned with a total of 19.1 acres of the 98 acre plot covered.
Now, the company is apply to change the parameters to allow up to 50 per cent coverage of the land by buildings.
In a submission to council, planners for the company say High Park wants to build two more greenhouses with about 707,000 square feet of space. That more than doubles the size of the current 583,000 square foot facility.
It also plans to build 10,000 square feet more of warehouse space and put in an addition 185 parking spaces to the north of the existing facility.
“It’s important to note that future site expansions and site improvements may be considered in the future to warrant High Park’s request for 50 per cent lot coverage at this time,” writes officials with MacNaughton, Hermson, Britton, Clarkson Planning Limited, which is handling the amendment for the company.
Mayor Kevin Marriott says High Park’s request is not unexpected nor unusual. He says the cannabis industry is building and the greenhouse industry in general covers more land than most farms.
“There are lot of greenhouses in Chatham-Kent, and more lot coverage is a trend in the whole industry – if you’re going to have more acres of greenhouse why have different locations. In fact, Leamington’s zoning bylaw allows greenhouses to cover 80 per cent of the agricultural land they own. In Chatham-Kent, the zoning bylaw allows for 30 per cent lot coverage.
Marriott says it makes sense to intensify greenhouse operations. “The infrastructure is already there…it would cost a lot more for them for infrastructure if they spread the greenhouses in different areas.”
And he says allowing the cannabis operator to expand on Lasalle Line will limit the number of people affected by some of the problems associated with the cannabis industry, including strong, skunk-like odours and excess light.
“It is better to have it concentrated on one farm…instead of having different neighbourhoods upset with light or smell.”
The Independent contacted High Park Farms to find out when construction might begin and how many jobs the expansion might create. So far, the company has not responded.
Trevor Brand and his mother, Cathy, have been dealing with the overpowering smell and excess light since the operation started.
They and some of their neighbours and relatives are concerned High Park is getting ready to build before it fixes the problems which already exist. “they should fix the problems they already have before they build any more,” says Simon Rice who lives nearby.
Trevor Brand agrees. “I’m not for or against the expansion (at High Park),” says Brand. “I want them to clean up their act…Prove to me you can operate without adverse effects to the neighbours…until then, the answer should be no (to expansion,)” says Brand.
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