Evergreen Medicinal operates this marijuana bunker near Michell Farms in Central Saanich near the border with Saanich to grow medicinal marijuana. Saanich plans to pass bylaw changes that would prohibit such bunkers for growing recreational marijuana on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Black Press file photo)

Evergreen Medicinal operates this marijuana bunker near Michell Farms in Central Saanich near the border with Saanich to grow medicinal marijuana. Saanich plans to pass bylaw changes that would prohibit such bunkers for growing recreational marijuana on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Black Press file photo)

Saanich to smoke out pot bunkers in Agricultural Land Reserve

Pending bylaw changes will crack down on high-yield structures

Saanich has specified the conditions for local farmers who want to grow marijuana on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Bylaw changes awaiting ratification stipulate federally-licensed pot farming in the ALR qualifies as farm use if it happens in an open field; in structures, whose respective bases consist completely of soil; in pre-existing structures (such as greenhouses with concrete pads) constructed for the purpose of growing crops; or structures for the purpose of growing crops under construction prior to July 13 — the deadline identified in a Aug. 15 bulletin from the Agricultural Land Commission concerning the cultivation of marijuana in the ALR.

Cannabis growing operations that do not meet those conditions represent non-farm uses that require approval from the Agricultural Land Commission under provincial regulations that allow municipal governments to control but not restrict the conditions of cannabis production.

RELATED: Saanich wants bunkers to be off limits for cannabis growing

Saanich council asked staff earlier this year to develop measures that would limit construction of the bunker-style pot-growing facilities in the ALR.

“The fear is we’ll see a proliferation of concrete-style bunkers on farmland which will render the fields otherwise useless,” said then-councillor Dean Murdock. “We’re more concerned with activities as part of the production that is detrimental to farmland.”

Proposed changes to Saanich’s bylaws will go before council on Monday. If approved, they will give the marijuana industry additional guidance when it comes to cannabis production on ALR land in Saanich.

RELATED: Central Saanich pot farm now on hold

A Saanich councillor has already voiced opposition to most of the pending bylaw changes.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers said she “adamantly” opposes cannabis production on land in the ALR or land zoned agriculture outside the ALR with the proviso that she is open to open field growing.

“It [cannabis production] is an industrial use,” she said. “It deserves to pay industrial tax [instead of farm tax]. It is not organic.”

Chambers said she would like to consult with the public about the various aspects of producing recreational cannabis. “This is going to be a huge business on Vancouver Island,” she said, adding that the production of cannabis represents a “climate change favourable business.” While it will require regulation and education to ensure community safety, it could boost Saanich’s business and industrial sector, said Chambers.

“I envision a funky light industrial area with local businesses and crafters [among others], potentially with mixed housing,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are asking for help locating Jordan Doddridge who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VicPD seek help locating man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Jordan Doddridge has an extensive criminal history including violent offences

SD62 says parents of kids who have problems with bus stops and pick up times should reach out to their transportation department to find a solution. This comes after a Grade 10 student attending EMCS in Sooke found out he had to walk 45 minutes to get to the nearest bus pickup. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus route mishap leaves EMCS student walking 45 mins to pickup spot

Sooke School District willing to work with family to find solution

Cory Resilient was trapped in a cycle of homelessness for about six years before applying for residency at Anawim House, a sober recovery home in Victoria. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay Talks goes online with homelessness

Existence Project brings Cory’s Story to Oak Bay

Central Saanich Police impounded two vehicles in less than hours for excessive spending Monday evening and Tuesday morning, handing out $1,185 and 15 points in total fines during some nine hours. Both incidents happened at intersection of Highway 17 and Island View Road. (Central Saanich Police/Twitter)
Central Saanich police hand out almost $1,200 in excessive speeding fines

One driver received 12, the other driver three points

As of Nov. 24, all group fitness classes at Saanich recreation centres have been cancelled and a mask mandate has been implemented amid new COVID-19 public health orders. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swimming, skating continue at Saanich recreation, exercise groups cancelled

New mask mandate implemented for all common spaces

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu turns 105

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

Most Read