With Hamilton city council opting to settle, TGOD will be able to continue construction on their phase two facility which the company states will grow 17,500 kilograms of organic cannabis annually.
The new greenhouse will employ 85 people and is expected to go into production in June.
Earlier this year, we touched on the reason why the Hamilton site was taking so long to open.
This involved an ongoing legal fracas obstructing the construction of TGOD’s phase two expansion. Citizens of Hamilton got their hackles up at a town meeting about TGOD setting up shop and growing agri-business levels of weed.
Actually, it was a bit more complicated.
What was it all over?
City council’s first point was actually about greenhouse sizes. That part is true.
Hamilton bylaws limit greenhouse space to 20,000 square feet while TGOD wanted their medical marijuana greenhouse to top out at 130,000 square feet.
The second point was about security.
By that time, Hamilton had had enough of the black market cannabis trade and its unexpected fallout, and wanted nothing more to do with the industry.
But it was also about environmental concerns.
During a city council meeting on June 2018 residents raised concerns that prime farmland would be ruined if a cannabis greenhouse were built on it, and council raised another point about the damage to the Green Belt.
The Green Belt is a two million acre patch of protected land that extends as far north as Tobermory and stretches 325 kilometers from Rice Lake to the Niagara River.
TGOD responded by saying there were several non-marijuana commercial greenhouses within the green belt larger than one million square feet.
Ultimately, Hamilton’s council voted against TGOD’s phase two greenhouse expansion.
Perhaps in a display of unfettered optimism about their political fortunes, TGOD went ahead with building their greenhouse anyway and predictably got slapped with a stop work order.
The company stopped for a month and then started back up again, pinky swearing they were only going to use the place to grow potted mums, not weed.
Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who had opposed the big cannabis greenhouse, said he found the application to build the greenhouse for potted mums misleading.
“Obviously, they are in the marijuana business, not the potted mums business. All I can say is they are taking a big risk. What will they do with that building if they lose their appeal?” said Ferguson.
In order to assuage NIMBY fears regarding odour, safety and water use, TGOD registered to lobby a new crop of politicians, and started offering tours to councilors, chamber of commerce and the press of their phase one Hamilton facility.
The tours highlighted security measures, smell reduction methods, and emphasize the idea that this is a legitimate enterprise rather than some shady garage grow-op.
Apparently, it worked.
The journey to date hasn’t been easy, but Brian Athaide, TGOD’s CEO, remains optimistic:
“We are committed to this city and we look forward to working with Council on achieving its goal of creating a Life Sciences Centre of Excellence in Hamilton. It has been a challenging year, but throughout it all, we have been encouraged by the hundreds of expressions of support from our neighbours, local businesses and the community.”
The local planning appeal tribunal is scheduled to confirm its settlement on April 25, 2019.
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