Cowichan Tribes develops major marijuana-growing operation on Mount Tzouhalem reserve

Logging has been taking place on Mount Tzouhalem in the Six Mountains, but this time it’s not the Municipality of North Cowichan.

 

Cowichan Tribes has been clearing trees on its reserve lands for development of a major  marijuana-growing operation.

 

“We are putting in a production plant for growing cannabis,” Chief William Seymour told sixmountains.ca. “It's a new economic development opportunity for Tribes to move forward on.”

 

Phil Floucault of Costa Canna Corp. revealed further that the facility will be built in two phases and cover a total of 40,000 square feet, with construction expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

 

Completion of phase one will produce about 1,580 kilograms of annually, rising to about 4,600 kilograms per year under phase two, he said.

 

“Premium flower will be sold in our retail locations, partnered retail locations, and medical patients via e-commerce,” Floucault said in an email. “We will also process lower quality flower into extract which will also be distributed in the same manner. If we have residual available it could be used for international markets as well provincial distribution.”

 

He added: “We are starting as stand-alone company, however we have several partnerships that will be formed over the next two years.”

 

Asked if the operation might cause problems for neighbours, Floucault said: “Health Canada has strict regulation around facility exhaust which include carbon filters which scrub the air prior to be exhausting to the exterior. We are developing a sealed cultivation system as well which reduces the amount of exhaust from the facility overall, reducing the ability for external odour. Typically, odour is present in greenhouse cultivation systems which we will not have on this site.”

 

Tracy Parow, executive director of Providence Farm, which is close to the site, said in a statement to sixmountains.ca that the farm shares about 160 hectares of property boundary with North Cowichan, the Nature Conservancy,  Mount Tzouhalem Eco Reserve (BC Parks) and Cowichan Tribes. 

 

“The primary focus of Providence Farm is the renewal of body and spirit; this is achieved by stewarding and using Providence Farm land to restore, sustain and grow the spirit, potential and skills of people, especially those with barriers to education or employment,” she said. 

 

“Providence Farm prioritizes the value of harmonious relationship and we respect the right of our neighbours to steward their land according to their own requirements.”

Cowichan Tribes opened the Cowichan Valley’s first retail marijuana outlet, Costa Canna, last October, with speeches and traditional dances at Duncan Mall.

 

— Larry Pynn, Feb. 5, 2020

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