Pot production plant proposed for P.A.

The City of Prince Albert has received an application to develop a cannabis production facility in the heavy industrial area north of the river.

If approved, the project would employ 60 full-time staff, and net the city $2,500 in business license fees, plus another $100 for an annual renewal. The site under consideration is 85 11th Street Northwest, located between Central Avenue North and First Avenue Northwest.

The application earned a tepid endorsement from Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp, who represents the entire area north of the river. She said there are obvious economic benefits to the development, however she also wants to know more about potential drawbacks before voting on the motion.

The unnamed developer is scheduled to make a formal presentation at the next city council meeting on Jan. 28.

“It sounds as though this proposal, if it went ahead, would have economic opportunities for our city (like) a potential for increased tax revenue,” Lennox –Zepp said. “But, if there are concerns that members of the public have, I am interested to hear them before a decision is made.”

The new development has at least one strong supporter in Ward 3 Coun. Evert Botha. Botha called the application a great development for the city that would help create long-term economic opportunities.

“I think the developer’s application permits are very, very fair,” he said. “This is a niche development for the City of Prince Albert, so it goes beyond just the business permit and the zoning. Hopefully some of these incentives that we passed last year will also be applicable to this new venture.”

Public notices have already gone out notifying nearby residents of the potential development. Any production facilities built in Prince Albert are restricted to heavy industrial areas.

This would be the first cannabis production facility approved for Prince Albert, although not the first in Saskatchewan. Prairie Plant Systems Inc. received a federal permit to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes in 2013, as did Agro-Greens Natural Products Ltd. and Tweed Grasslands Cannabis Inc. (both 2017).

In July 2018, Calgary-based Westleaf Cannabis Inc. also announced plans to build a $30-million cannabis cultivation centre near Battleford in partnership with Thunderchild First Nation, The facility should be completed this fall.

UPDATE: More details emerge about proposed cannabis production facility

More details have emerged about a cannabis production facility proposed for the industrial area north of the river.

The development permit application for the facility was included in Monday’s council agenda, posted on the city’s website Thursday.

According to an attached overview, the production facility is being proposed by NuvoMedic Canna Consulting, a local company run by Jamie Novotny. The proposed facility would be called NuvoPharms.

According to the documents filed by the company, the facility would be a full seed-to-sale Health Canada licensed production facility under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regine and the Cannabis Act. The facility is planned for the building that used to house PA Bottlers.

“The facility will produce the highest quality grade organic medicinal standard product on the market,” the overview says.

The plan is to employ 60 full-time staff from the community, with a focus on equity employment. The ownership group consists of local and national investors, while the management team includes members with industry level certification in management of marijuana for medical purposes, plant production, facility management, marketing sales and drug development, government training and experience in business administration, program management and development, Indigenous relations, economic development, communications, northern infrastructure development, security and human resources and internal operations.

In the documents filed with the city, NuvoPharms estimates the project will attract about $15 million in investment during development with a focus of locally-sourced contractors. A portion of profits will be reinvested in areas such as youth programming, health initiatives, emergency services, Indigenous community engagement and support and education initiatives.

City council will consider the development permit application during the Monday council meeting scheduled for 5 p.m.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the cost of the cannabis production facility being built by Westleaf Cannabis Inc. The actual cost is $30-million, not $8-million. The facility will be located near Battleford, not on Thunderchild First Nation as was originally stated. The Prince Albert Daily Herald apologizes for the errors.