Calgary

Innisfail-area residents oppose pot processing plant

Some landowners in an area east of Innisfail, Alta., are worried about a proposal to build a medical marijuana processing plant nearby. They voiced their concerns in a private meeting this week.

Residents in Red Deer County are concerned with odour and crime if the plant is approved

Red Deer County council will vote on plans for a pot processing plant east of Innisfail, Alta., next week. (Ron Ward/Canadian Press)

Some landowners in an area east of Innisfail, Alta., are worried about a proposal to build a medical marijuana processing plant nearby.

The proposed site is surrounded by farmland and in an environmentally significant area.

Roughly 50 landowners met privately to go over their concerns on Tuesday night. Among them was Suzanne Hawkes Cole, who believes this is not the right location for an industrial facility.

"We urge the county to adopt a policy of zoning marijuana facilities into commercial areas that are already set up for heavy truck traffic, that already have reliable water and electricity supplies and are adjacent to higher-capacity policing services," Cole said. ​

Geoffrey White lives less than a kilometre from the site of a proposed medical marijuana processing plant near Innisfail. He says he's worried about potential odours and an increase in crime if the plant is approved. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

Geoffrey White, who lives less than a kilometre from the site of the proposed facility, says he's been around grow-ops before and he's worried about the potential odours and other problems if the medical marijuana operation gets approved.

"They stink, they just stink," White said. "We have got enough crime out here already without having … I don't know, people who like to smoke it, coming out and going through the fence and trying to get in there — because they are going to try."

The company behind the application, Agrafina, is holding an open house on Thursday night to try to alleviate some of the fears before making a presentation to council next week, a spokesperson said.

Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood said council has a tough decision ahead.

"Medical marijuana is something that is quite new, and so I think it's important that we take a hard look at the impact to our communities, and we want to make sure we are very informed," Wood said.

Council could approve, defer or reject the application next week.

With files from Colleen Underwood

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