Plans to develop a cannabis production facility in Yellowknife’s Engle business district are to be put before city councillors for approval.
City staff say an unidentified developer hopes to grow cannabis plants for supply to the territorial government, which currently controls the only cannabis retail stores in the NWT, for recreational and medical sale.
Council has to approve the proposal as cannabis production is not specifically permitted in the area by city bylaws, but similar uses –like greenhouses and laboratories – are allowed.
“The proposed uses are consistent with the permitted uses and intention of the business industrial zone,” reads a briefing document prepared by City of Yellowknife staff.
The proposed facility will also include office space, a packaging area, and a research and development space.
The Engle business district is a zone dedicated to industrial development (and, a little incongruously, the NWT SPCA animal shelter) on the city’s outskirts along Deh Cho Boulevard.
A purchase agreement for the developer to buy what is currently City land already exists, subject to council approving this use.
Owners of adjacent land have been informed of the proposal and, to date, no concerns have been raised, the briefing document states.
“The applicant will require federal and territorial government licensing and regulation for this proposed development,” the document continues. “This development permit is the applicant’s first step toward approval and implementation of a cannabis production facility.”
The document, which recommends approval of the proposal, states staff will ensure “the final development proposal is in keeping with the character, interests of the surrounding property owners, and regulatory framework that controls development within this district.”
More: Read the City of Yellowknife briefing document (from page 3 of this PDF)
The parcel of land in question is not large by the business district’s standards. At around 5,000 square metres, it is slightly smaller than the lot owned by the NWT SPCA on the same street, Falcon Road.
Nor is Yellowknife renowned for its agribusiness, with what is ordinarily considered a tricky climate in which to attempt commercial plant growth on a significant scale.
The matter will be discussed by council at Monday’s meeting of its governance and priorities committee, from 12pm at City Hall.