New Brunswick

Rezoning approved for Saint John cannabis processor, despite objections

Saint John council has approved rezoning of a former west side grocery store to make room for a cannabis processing facility.

Aphria Inc., will set up shop in a former grocery store in the city

Aphria Inc., a cannabis processor, will set up shop in this former west Saint John grocery store (City of Saint John)

Saint John council has approved the rezoning of a former west side grocery store, to make room for a cannabis processing facility.

Aphria Inc., plans to create cannabis oils at 384 Lancaster Ave., in what Ian Scott describes as a "sophisticated lab-type environment."

"This facility will be staffed with chemists, scientists, laboratory technicians, research and development experts as well as all the required process and packaging support staff," said Scott, who is the company product development officer.

The company recently purchased Nuuvera Inc., who was the original applicant.

The company plans to abstain growing on site, and truck traffic would be limited to two cube type van deliveries per day, climbing to a maximum of eight in coming years.

Ian Scott of Aphria Inc., says truck traffic at the processing facility will amount to about two "cube-type" vans each day. (CBC)

"There will be no discernable noise and no odour," said Scott.

The rezoning application presented to city council on Monday, said the facility will employ up to 25 people.

But Lorne Abony, Nuuvera CEO told CBC News in January, there would be between 40 and 70 employees.

Location, location, location

Several people from the adjacent Fundy Heights neighbourhood objected to the rezoning, citing what they claim is the "industrial" nature of the project.

"Industry should be assigned to industrial areas, residential areas are for residents," said Heather Toole of Lewin Park. "This industry is welcome and needed in our city but the location is not correct."

"We don't know what's going in there. You don't know what's going in there. That's my problem," said Bill Dashwood of Cushing Street.

Steve Milbury of Opportunities New Brunswick, the province's economic development agency, spoke to city councillors on behalf of the company's application.

"They had a number of different options, and we [Saint John] weren't their first choice," said Milbury.

"Quite honestly at the end of the day, their business is going to continue, whether it happens here or whether it happens somewhere else." 

After two hours of discussion councillors approved the rezoning to "Business Park Commercial" with added condition the property is not to be used in future for anything other than a cannabis processing facility.

"I don't see any traffic problem, I don't see a noise or a smell problem," said Coun. David Merrithew.


Connell Smith is a reporter with CBC in Saint John. He can be reached at 632-7726