The City of Delta wants Metro Vancouver to step up and do something about the smell generated from marijuana greenhouses, especially one operated by the country’s largest cannabis producer.
Mayor George Harvie a few weeks ago wrote a letter to regional district chair Sav Dhaliwal asking that Metro deny an air discharge approval application by BC Tweed until all emissions, including odorous air contaminants, are comprehensively addressed to ensure there are no negative impacts to the public and environment.
BC Tweed, operated the Canopy Growth, applied to Metro to use eight co-generation engines at the company’s massive greenhouse on Horny Drive in East Ladner.
Using co-generation engines requires approval by the district under the region’s air quality management bylaw, but Harvie noted he’s concerned that other emission issues including the current bad smells coming from the facility are not being addressed though that co-generation application.
“If an approval is issued without consideration of the entirety of emissions from the cannabis greenhouse and overall potential impacts to the environment and human health, this could raise questions as to Metro Vancouver’s authority to regulate the non-combustion emissions from a cannabis facility. At a minimum, an approval would significantly delay a holistic and comprehensive review of facility emissions and their impact,” Harvie wrote.
According to the application by BC Tweed, the natural gas system would supply heat and electricity to the Delta greenhouse.
The system would be equipped with a Selective Catalytic Reduction system to reduce the discharge of air contaminants into the surrounding environment.
Noting the total area of greenhouses in Delta that produce cannabis, or are in the process of converting to pot, is now about six million square feet, Harvie in another correspondence noted that despite the installation of air filters in pot facilities, Delta continues to experience strong odours at significant distances from cannabis-producing greenhouses.
Canopy Growth has a 1.7-million-square-foot greenhouse in East Delta called BC Tweed. It’s one of the biggest cannabis greenhouses in the world
“The lack of prescriptive requirements for odour control under Health Canada licenses (which neither include performance outcomes nor require monitoring), allows significant odour issues to continue in our community,” he said.
Harvie also noted that while he recognizes Metro is still in the process of developing a regulation to address air contaminants from small to medium-sized production and processing facilities, cannabis greenhouses continue discharging air contaminants without a permit or other approval could be contravening Metro’s Air Quality Management Bylaw.
“City of Delta staff are not aware of any Air Quality Permits that have been issued or applied for in respect of cannabis greenhouses located in Delta,” he said.
Dhaliwal in a recent response noted Metro staff have been working on the regulations to address air contaminates from cannabis production facilities and the board will consider recommendations early this year.
“Metro Vancouver staff have continued to advise cannabis production facilities of the requirements of the GVRD Air Quality Management Bylaw and have directed known existing facilities, including BC Tweed and three other greenhouse-based facilities located in Delta, to seek authorization for the discharge of air contaminants from crops, equipment, and other sources,” Dhaliwal noted.
“To date, Metro Vancouver has received three approval applications for co-generation engines at cannabis production operations in the region, including the application from BC Tweed. No finalized air permit applications have been received by Metro Vancouver from cannabis production operations seeking authorization of emissions from cannabis plants or cannabis processing activities such as harvesting and drying. Metro Vancouver recognizes the current and potential impacts of emissions from cannabis production. We will continue to explore options to increase compliance with the GVRD Air Quality Management Bylaw to address the concerns expressed by member jurisdictions and stakeholders as well as to fulfil our mandate to protect public health and the environment.”