Ottawa’s legalization of marijuana last fall prompted several large-scale Delta greenhouses to convert to cannabis. How do you respond to concerns that have been voiced in the community over the loss of food-producing land in Delta as well as complaints over odours created by these facilities?
Randy Anderson-Fennell (NDP)
The B.C. Agricultural Land Reserve was established some 45 years ago by the provincial NDP government of the day, and Ottawa must respect provincial autonomy. However, a New Democratic government would implement a Canadian Food Strategy that invests in our agricultural communities, supports young and new farmers, and takes steps to ensure rural livelihoods are sustainable. Farming and food production must remain economically viable and an NDP government would provide low-cost startup loans and training opportunities to new farmers.
Tanya Corbet (Conservative)
Legalization of cannabis is yet another example of Trudeau mismanagement. No thought was given to impacts on local communities, downloading of costs to local governments and negative impacts on our quality of life. I commit to work with our municipal government, Delta police and local farming stakeholders to restore balance in our community. More broadly, Conservatives will tackle the issues created by the rushed legalization of cannabis, one by one.
Craig DeCraene (Green)
Metro Vancouver is in the middle of public consultations on what can be done to mitigate the smells that occur from cannabis production. Canopy Growth Corp. informed me they are doing all they can to mitigate the smell, from carbon filters to odour neutralizer. Health Canada has regulations for this, but I would meet with Health Canada officials to get better regulations to deal with odours coming from cannabis production.
Angelina Ireland (People’s Party)
The interesting thing about marijuana being grown in greenhouses on ALR land begs the question, “If it is fine to replace vital food growing regions designated by government regulations with marijuana greenhouses, then why not also with a more productive and much needed project for building new housing?” This misuse of ALR food producing land for growing unnecessary drugs demonstrates the point that more top-down government regulation at the federal level is unlikely to create a satisfactory solution to this local problem.
Carla Qualtrough (Liberal)
I share these concerns. There are strict air filtration regulations. Health Canada needs to enforce these regulations and not issue licenses when air filtration is lacking. I raised this issue with the minister of health and brought Minister Bill Blair to meet with the mayor. We will ensure that Health Canada prioritizes the inspection of Delta facilities. The provincial government considers the production of cannabis to be farming. It is therefore of extreme importance that food production not be put at risk. Delta has a proud history of feeding our region and our country.
Tony Bennett (independent)
I do not think Cannabis production requires greenhouses when there are more appropriate remote growing areas, for this hardy plant, that will easily feed the consumer demand for this product. I support the will of Deltonians and I will press hard to bring their needs to bare federally and locally. I also believe the rollout of this supposed revenue stream for our nation has been carried out haphazardly leaving millions of dollars in revenue uncollected and unaccounted for.
Amarit Bains (independent)
There is a finite amount of food producing land in Delta and it shouldn’t be lost to marijuana production. Marijuana yields profits higher than many food crops and therefore, oversight needs to be implemented to limit how much land or greenhouse space can be used for non-food producing crops in Delta. Once a new greenhouse is built the land underneath is no longer fertile due to the materials used in constructing greenhouses. To reduce the odour from marijuana growing sites I will ask the B.C. government and Health Canada to review and possibly change the ventilation guidelines used by growers.