Paul Gillespie, the President and CEO of Neucrop, a cannabis producing company, told Prince Edward County council on Thursday afternoon there is a real opportunity in front of them.
He said The County provides some of the things the company is looking for when it comes to zoning, services and site location.
But that all depends on how open council is to having a micro cultivation and standard processing facility in Picton.
The site being considered is in the Picton Industrial Park, more specifically 26, 27, 28 and 33 MacDonald Drive.
Gillespie said there is a great footprint for a facility there and opportunities for expansion.
Councillor Lenny Epstein chaired the meeting and says the idea seemed to be well received around the horseshoe.
One of the concerns was security of the facility.
Gillespie said security is something Health Canada takes very seriously and said the building will simply look like a warehouse to passersby. He said Health Canada not only has to approve the site location but all staff will undergo a CSIS security check. There will also be mag locks on all the doors and fencing around the facility.
He told council there would be no sales from the facility and no tours as it wouldn’t be open to the public. He also informed them, marijuana won’t be grown on site.
Gillespie informed council he had talks Thursday with representatives from Belleville and Quinte West along with an aggressive push from Niagara to locate their facility there.
He said the facility would bring construction jobs to the region and once the facility was up and running there would be 12 well paying full-time “lab coat” type jobs to start.
He noted this area is known for its agricultural ties and he wanted to capitalize on that.
Councillor Brad Nieman asked how much growth they can expect to see.
Gillespie said the industry is expected to grow from an $8 billion industry to $22 billion by 2025 and Neucorp would hire as many people as it can.
Another concern was the site location, as it would have two schools within the 500 metre recommended “buffer” zone away from a civic address.
Epstein asked if Gillespie had looked at other locations around the county.
He said he had but services were his main concern. He cited a property in Wellington that had hydro, but gas was the issue. He told council he would be open to hearing of other locales they could explore.
Gillespie said he would need a letter of approval from Prince Edward County OPP, the fire department and council as part of their application to Health Canada.
Council asked for a report from staff and Neil Carbone, Director of Community Development, told them it was something they had begun looking into.
Councillor David Harrison wanted to make sure they weren’t jumping into this too quickly and didn’t want backlash from residents. He suggested a public meeting.
Carbone said it might be a bit premature for public consultation as the legislation isn’t in place yet.
Gillespie said he was looking to see how receptive council was to the idea and if it was something they were open to, he would proceed and go forward with a public consultation.
A report is expected later this month.