«The concern is that this proposed (cannabis) operation would be smack in the middle of a delicate area,» said a spokesperson for the Glen Valley neighbourhood coalition that is against the plans for a cannabis grow facility.
A proposal for a marijuana-grow operation in Langley is drawing opposition because it would sit next to a bird and wildlife area that has been protected for years, as well as a long-running, addiction recovery facility.
Glen Valley Cannabis Ltd. is waiting to get its federal licences and is applying to the Township of Langley for building permits. It has vowed to keep a lid on odours and use blackout blinds to mitigate the impact of its facilities.
But neighbours and others aren’t convinced.
“This is such as new industry,” said Rhyan Thomas, a spokesperson for the Glen Valley Neighbourhood Coalition. “What we have seen in terms of greenhouse operations that grow cannabis is that they say they are going to put in the controls, but the effects of what they put in don’t help enough.”
This is “rural neighbourhood with lots of smaller hobby farms,” said Thomas. “We are used to different forms of farm smells and tractors. The concern is that this proposed operation would be smack in the middle of a delicate area. It is right across from the Blaauw Eco Forest and just a few metres from the Wagner Hills Farm Society.”
Thomas said the eco-forest is a “remnant of an ancient forest. It has a wetland component with an aquifer that is under threat with dropping water levels.”
Some years ago the Blaauw family donated the 35-acre eco-forest so that its rare, cedar woodlands and bog wetland with diverse plant and animal species could be studied and preserved. Janet Wiens, daughter of Ann Blaauw, who donated the property in 2013, is concerned that questions from the scientific community about the cannabis operation’s potential impact on the “draw on the aquifer” aren’t being answered.
“If it dries up, the plants and animals in the wetland and bog will simply vanish,” said Thomas.
The Wagner Hills Farm Society has, for decades, been operating as a farm, market and rehabilitation centre for men and women. Intake and care-plan manager Brandon Anderson is also calling for a halt to the project. There is worry that the smell of cannabis production wafting over could undermine its programs. Clients under their care are “vulnerable adults due to their addiction illness, and by law, should be given special consideration and protection.”
The owners of Glen Valley Cannabis have said they will be running a boutique-like operation as opposed to larger ones that have been cited as dire comparisons.
But Thomas said the property the company owns is 38 acres in size so it is small now, but “with (that size land) to work with, the concern is that it can evolve into a larger operation.”
The Township of Langley’s manager of permit, licence and inspection services didn’t respond to queries for comment.