After some discussion and an adjustment a cannabis production facility has been approved in the Rural Municipality (R.M.) of Buckland. At the R.M.’s regular council meeting on Monday, February 10 the council approved a plan by Curtis Braaten, owner/operator of Haskap Central Sales Limited to bring a marijuana nursery to his property. With no objections from neighbours Braaten is happy to see the project go forward.
“There was no objections registered whatsoever we were expecting as much,” he said.
“We will maintain the operations of Haskap Central, we have anticipated this coming. We have changed our current business model with Haskap Central sales and we feel that we will be able to transition into the cannabis industry quite nicely,” Braaten explained.
The now open market for cannabis made the decision to expand easy for Braaten.
“We do that for a living already, we profligate plants for a living and ship them nationwide actually we ship them worldwide. So I know that it’s a completely different plant but we don’t anticipate it being much of a stretch for us,” Braaten said.
The operation will begin with the nursery and once they develop will expand the existing site.
“We will start with the nursery, we will get the nursery up and running and increase our genetic pool to capture market share and then once we have some cashflow we have the authorization for the micro (-cultivation) and we will start building because that will be new construction. Because the existing glass house will be converted for the nursery and then we will just move on to the micro,” he said.
They would be one of the few operations in Canada.
“In terms of nursery I think there is only five that are licensed in Canada and it sounds like most of them are in western Canada. There is one in Saskatchewan if I am not mistaken,” Braaten said.
According to Buckland’s planner Jason Kaptein there was some initial discussion before it was brought before council in December, 2019.
“So last year we did amend our zoning bylaws to allow for these Cannabis production facilities, both on the micro(-cultivation) end which is up to 200 square meters in size for production space and then the larger facilities as well,” Kaptein explained.
Braaten initially came with a plan for a smaller micro operation. However before the matter came to the public hearing portion in February his plans had changed. Braaten, who already has a greenhouse on his property and moved into the nursery aspect.
“And the Health Canada applications for the nurseries, I understand is not the same size restriction is he can do the flowering, he can produce the cannabis in up to 200 square meters of production space. But in addition to that he was asking for the nursery aspect as well which is what he does currently on the property with the Haskap,” he said.
The RM changed their zoning bylaws so as they do not distinguish between cannabis and other nursery plants.
“But because he already operates a nursery and our zoning doesn’t distinguish between cannabis plants and other nursery plants. We don’t have any restrictions on the nursery aspect. We still approved the micro and he’s basically allowed to change from Haskap to cannabis under our zoning bylaw without us having to issue a new approval on the cannabis end,’ Kaptein explained
“Our zoning doesn’t distinguish on the nursery end between cannabis and other types of nursery stock. So we didn’t have a concern on it so on our public consultation process, truth be told, we didn’t hear any feedback from the neighbours and we didn’t have any concerns on either end from the immediate neighbours. And so with that we did approve it, both the micro and with the understanding that he would be converting the nursery,” Kaptein said.
Kapteins explained that Braaten must still be approved by Health Canada before production can begin.
“He still has to get the Health Canada approval but we had no concerns on our end. Council was happy to approve it,” he said.
Braaten overall is pleased that Buckland wants to see the project go forward.
“Well it means that’s a good start and you can’t even get started without that. That is extremely encouraging and the balls are rolling. We have meetings this weekend and now comes the fun part,” he said.