By Craig Westcott | The Business Post
The cannabis production plant proposed for the former Robert Neal Building on Topsail Hill moved a step closer to approval Tuesday with Paradise council granting a permit to start refurbishing the building.
Before council could debate the matter, however, Mayor Dan Bobbett had to ask council for clarification on whether he was in a conflict of interest because the owner of the building contributed to his political campaign last year. Council, with the exception of councillors Allan English and Paul Dinn, deemed the mayor was not in a conflict.
Planning director Alton Glenn recommended the application to develop a medical cannabis production facility at 1956 Topsail Road be given approval in principal.
The application to approve the permit passed unanimously, but not without comment from English and Dinn.
"The Town held a public meeting on this facility and a number of residents in the immediate vicinity of the building had concerns with respect to this," English noted. "It's an approval in principal and it's my understanding that we agreed the people who attended the public meeting would be notified that this is progressing to this stage. It's not final approval, but it is going to this next stage and people will be notified accordingly."
Dinn added council will send the residents the information they had requested concerning the facility's air quality.
At a public hearing held earlier this fall, a number of residents in the subdivision located to the east of the former manufacturing plant expressed worries about increased traffic, light pollution, the possibility of a smell emanating from the plant as the marijuana plants are grown and harvested, and a detrimental effect on their property values.
• In other development news, council rejected an application for a lodge and place of worship at 19 McNamara Drive. "The application does not meet a number of the requirements of the development regulations and is recommended for refusal," said Glenn, who didn't specify what those missed requirements were.
• An application for a Crown Land referral and for a permit to build a single family home at 69A Dawes Road did meet with council's approval.
• An application to operate a professional counselling service for children at 167 Paradise Road was given conditional approval pending the advertisement of a notice about the business and no objections being registered. Glenn noted the application falls within council's discretionary powers.
• A similar conditional approval was given for a five-unit retail plaza at 1694 Topsail Road. That's near Marie's Mini Mart on Octagon Pond. "The recommendation of the planning committee is to advertise and approve the application subject to no objections to the required discretionary use notice," said Glenn.
• The application for phase 26 of the Elizabeth Park development, this time a 13-lot subdivision, was also given the go ahead.
• An application for a two-lot infill subdivision at 31-37 Hickeys Road was also approved.
• And finally, council has agreed to adopt an amendment to its Town Plan to allow for the eventual construction of a new 10,000 square metre intermediate level school capable of housing 820 students. Councillor Stirling Willis, who co-chairs the town's planning and development committee, pointed out a notice of the amendment was advertised and no objections to the proposal were received.
"That's a good one, that the school is moving ahead," said Mayor Bobbett. "We're very pleased about that in the Town of Paradise. It's something that residents have been looking forward to, a junior high (school) in our town. It's good to see that it is moving forward."