The City of Delta will be taking action against a controversial Tsawwassen farm that is growing industrial hemp.
The city has been flooded with complaints from residents near the farm in the 5700-block of 6th Avenue, formerly referred to as the Guichon property, but now owned by a numbered company, which homeowners say is creating a nauseating odour.
The property, immediately east of the Forest by the Bay subdivision and adjacent to the Southlands and Beach Grove Golf Club, has a licence from Health Canada that allows the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp.
Mayor George Harvie at council last week said a report will be prepared on serving legal notice to the operator leasing the land as well as the owner.
He added Health Canada did not consult the municipality before issuing the licence.
“I visited the site not just by Forest by the Bay but also down in the residential areas in Boundary Bay and the odour, strong odour, from the growing of hemp from this specific property, which in not in the ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) as council knows, is just intolerable. I’m very concerned that the federal government provided a licence without checking with the city to ensure that it’s matching with our zoning, which it is not,” Harvie said.
Coun. Dylan Kruger also wondered how the licence was issued without municipal approval, saying the city’s bylaw stipulates such activity is not allowed at the property.
Coun. Alicia Guichon agreed, saying other farmers in Delta try to be good neighbours.
The city had already imposed a strict new set of zoning conditions for the 18-hectare (45-acre) site, which is zoned agricultural but not in the ALR.
The special agricultural zone prohibits greenhouses of any size and allows a maximum of one non-residential farm building or structure that’s limited to a floor area of 10,764 square feet.
As well, the zone prohibits a number of uses including livestock farming, mushroom growing and composting, maintaining those uses are potentially incompatible with adjacent land uses.
Much to the ire of nearby residents, the owner a couple of years ago indicated a greenhouse complex would be constructed.
The city imposed a stop work order on site clearing because proper permits weren’t in place.
The property at the time was also listed for sale, with a real estate firm advertising the site had the potential to be rezoned to residential as it isn’t in the ALR.