Sunday, April 13, 2014


UPDATE: While Fort Erie Council listened but did nothing about residents' concerns over a marijuana grow-op in a former pharmaceutical plant on Jarvis Street, the town of Port Colborne passed a by-law that such facilities must be 150 meters set-back from residences. It also passed requirements for screening to make such facilities less visible.  It was the best that the town council could do since the licensing and regulations for legal pot growing are controlled federally by Health Canada. Port Colborne joins a number of other communities that have issues with marijuana grow-ops' locations near residential areas and schools. So far, the federal government has been vague about such problems. From the article:

 “You hear both sides, try to be fair, try to strike a balance  "between concerned residents and new business," said Port Colborne mayor Vance Badaway. he said,  "but that's made difficult when an issue is 'dumped' in the lap of municipalities that are given little to no control by the federal government."

Fred Braken presented the clerk with a petition signed by over forty residents in the Jarvis Street area where the planned grow-op will be located, but he failed to make his point clearly in his delegation because of his confrontational attitude and annoying snorting noises. Too bad that there isn't a more articulate and reasonable person willing to plead the case for the neighbours of the plant site.

FURTHER UPDATE: An additional planning meeting will be held for the public in early May regarding the property on Jarvis Street. Council did take notice. It appears that the petition handed in by Fred Brasken at council on Monday, April 14 was taken seriously. From The Times article:

Brady said council required more clarification on this guideline and asked staff to have 
another look it before a bylaw was passed to allow the medical marijuana facility to 
move forward. The planning director also said the Town has given proper public notice 
to make residents aware of the development, as well as holding an open house and 
public meeting.There will be another public meeting, likely in May, to clear up any 
concerns the public may have, although a second meeting isn't required under the 
planning act, said Brady.

(Editor's Note: The original public meeting that was held with the hope that no one 
would attend. Happens a lot when a planner wants to push something through that 
might not pass the smell test.)


I have to admit that I was put off by the attitude of one Fred Braken who spoke in front of town council last month regarding the potential legal marijuana (Yeah, that's how I spell it; get over it) grow-op in the former pharmaceutical manufacturing plant on Jarvis Street. He railed on that the plant/grow-op was going to be near residences and children and devalue the neighbourhood. 

He lost the argument right there with me because the plant was already in place for years. It is about to be re-purposed/rezoned to allow a medical marijuana grow operation. He was right however that the neighbourhood community was not given adequate notice nor consulted on the proposed site for the operation.

Which is what some residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake are upset about. There is already one such greenhouse on Lakeshore Road in NOTL which has nearby residents begging for the local town council to impose restraints on the location of these medical marijuana grow-ops.

"At the committee-of-the-whole Monday, Carone asked councillors to enact legislation to limit the number of grow-ops allowed and prevent them from locating within 1,000 meters of a residential area, a school, a park or a church. He also suggested that the operations be designated as a pharmaceutical use, not agricultural, so they would only be permitted in industrial zones." (St. Catharines Standard April 9, 2014)

Residents also remarked about the smell of "vegetative marijuana" in the neighbourhood on warm days. In a recent radio interview, Councillor Martin Mazza remarked that chain-link fences, security cameras and barbed wire makes the greenhouse look more like the Thorold Detention Centre.

Further from the article: 

Lord Mayor Dave Eke sent a letter to Health Minister Rona Ambrose Monday expressing the town’s concern about the federal license review process for grow-op applications.
“Our community is experiencing a great deal of angst with this one site in particular,” he wrote, “ which could have been effectively addressed much sooner in the process if our community had first been allowed to express its support or concerns about such a facility.”
“We were not given that opportunity through the current process.”
So too, it seems that the residents in the lower end of Jarvis Street area were not given the opportunity to let their feelings be known on the planned grow-op in the former Pharma plant.
It also seems that residents have to constantly be aware of what their government is doing because these kind of things happen with alarming frequency. (I could offer the Bay Beach situation as an example of a local government trying to push something through that was anathema to the people, but I won't. LOL)

So at Monday, April 14's Regular Council Meeting the passage of By-law No. 7-2014 will be discussed with a presentation by Fred Braken. If he were smart, he would approach the problem citing the similarity in NOTL and how a smelly, barbed wire encased security enhanced grow op will impact the entire neighbourhood, not just himself. He would be wise to contact the people mentioned in the NOTL article for information and tips on how best to respond to this problem. Steady and carefully as a responsible citizen might do. It takes holding the local council members' feet to the fire and presenting a well-prepared and reasoned argument before the council and the public. It will be televised. 

And be prepared to fight this for a good, long time.