Outdoor hemp operation angers Tsawwassen homeowners

A controversial farm property in Tsawwassen has federal approval to grow hemp.

That’s according to Delta city staff who looked into 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.

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The property is immediately east of the Forest by the Bay subdivision and adjacent to the Southlands and Beach Grove Golf Club.

Complaints have come to city hall about a hemp crop growing on the farm property, one letter writer describing the smell as “continuous, pervasive, invasive and nauseating.”

Although the residents said the production was unlawful, a Delta staff response to council notes Health Canada had issued a licence that allows the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp on the land.

Staff are reviewing the activities at the site.

A federal government website, explaining regulations and potential uses for industrial hemp, notes fibre from stalks can be used in making paper, textiles, rope or twine and construction materials. Grain from industrial hemp can be used in food products, cosmetics, plastics and fuel.

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 Agricultural Land Reserve.

A 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 they are potentially incompatible with adjacent land uses.

The new zone also limits the owner to just one farm house, restricts outside, overnight vehicle parking and doesn’t allow subdivision.

Much to the ire of nearby residents, the owner, a couple of years ago, indicated a greenhouse complex would be constructed, but the city imposed a stop work order on site clearing because the proper permits weren’t in place.

The property at the time was also listed for sale for $23.8 million, with the real estate firm advertising the site as having the potential to be rezoned to residential because it isn’t in the ALR.

It sold just a few years earlier for $12.5 million.

Residents formed a group called Concerned Citizens of Delta South and lobbied council to take action.

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