The smoke hasn’t settled near Josephburg just yet over a potential cannabis facility.
Canadian Rockies Agriculture was stopped last spring in their attempt to build a cannabis facility and now area neighbours are attempting to stop them again.
“We worked all last summer with Strathcona County on building development permits and we had it approved and unfortunately, we were in a little bit of a predicament for timing for council because that’s when the municipal elections were going on,” said CEO Aaron Barr.

He claimed initially some of the neighbours opposed their development and in the long run the previous council amended the Land Use Bylaw to change these types of production facilities from permitted use to discretionary use.

The company then had their development permit revoked.

They went back through the process again, making what Barr described as significant changes by scaling back the size, eliminating outdoor lighting and eliminating the processing aspect to cannabis production, which in turn got their development permit approved again.

“Our development permit was approved for both cannabis production and intensive horticulture. Part of our business plan was to actually not only do indoor cultivation, but also outdoor industrial hemps and intensive horticulture,” said Barr. “So, companion planting for medical cannabis and supplying the rest of cannabis producers with companion plantings, basically to avoid the use of pesticides and stuff like that.”

While they hope to break ground in May, adjacent neighbours have appealed the development again and they tackle that on Apr.18.

“This time we’re a lot more prepared with expert testimony, engineers, lawyers, planners all that stuff,” noted Barr.

If all goes well during the appeal this time, the acreage will house just over 13 buildings and greenhouses.

“The buildings itself will take up five per cent of the land and the greenhouses will range from 6,000 to 30,000 square feet,” he said.

Construction would take four to six months with them growing inside the greenhouses next winter. Their goal is to be a sun-grown, organic sustainable cannabis production.

Total construction cost is between $20-$25 million.

The company purchased the 74-acre farm last summer. It was formerly an elk and ostrich farm that was left abandoned for cattle grazing.

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