Mature cannabis plants like these could be growing in an area facility sometime in the future after Ponoka County lifted the suspension of its development permit. File photo

Ponoka County lifts permit suspension on cannabis development

Water issue resolved, council feels enough chances given for any opposition

A proposed niche market cannabis production facility in Ponoka County is back on track.

Ponoka County council voted unanimously on July 16 to lift the suspension of the development permit for Micro Grow after the water supply issue was addressed to the county’s satisfaction.

The direct control zoning of the property, located on county land on the west side of Hwy. 2A just across from the Samson Cree Nation, meant that county council must approve the development permit and would control all of the conditions of the permit.

Micro Grow owners Sehn-Chi Deip and Howard Ng made application back in February and twice council requested more information, prior to approving the development on April 23.

The permit was then suspended on May 14 after it was learned the condition of having an adequate water supply had not yet been met. The reason was because the county was sent a letter from administration of the Samson Cree Nation emphatically stating it refused to hook the business to their water line, even though the county received a letter in April from the band confirming water would be made available.

Ng and Deip appeared at the July 16 council meeting to update the county on the water issue, noting they plan to have a cistern on site that would be filled by trucks twice a week, enough to meet the needs of the business and possible fire suppression.

With all of the other conditions of the permit having been met, Ng requested council change their mind and lift the suspension.

The lone holdout appeared to be Reeve Paul McLauchlin, citing his concern that the water line denial was more political than anything else.

However, Coun. Mark Matejka and Doug Weir argued that the band had been given more than enough time and opportunity to voice any objections, instead of just saying no to supplying water. Matejka added the band missed all of the county’s timelines to appeal the decision.

McLauchlin accepted the assertions from both councillors and the motion passed to allow the owners to proceed with the development.

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