While there has been a lot of talk about medicinal cannabis of late, there has so far been little action on the ground in the part of the country where it grows like a weed.
That’s about to change if a development application (DA) currently on exhibition in Byron Shire is approved.
The $7.25million, 16-person, four-greenhouse operation will turn out two-to-five tonnes of medicinal cannabis a year, according to the DA.
But if you think ‘with that amount of green stuff being produced, the owners wouldn’t notice a few missing buds’, think again.
The proposed site at 955 Friday Hut Road, Binna Burra, is almost entirely surrounded by Byron Creek, the facility itself will be purpose-built and highly secure, and 24/7 security staff will be onsite.
The proponent, Elixinol Global Limited, is an ASX listed company that already has a foot in the door of the international medicinal cannabis industry, including in the US and Europe.
The growing of cannabis and associated processing is a permissible use, according to Bryon’s LEP.
Specially designed facility
If approved, cannabis cultivation in a specially designed facility would replace the three existing chicken sheds on the site.
The proposed facility would be approximately 3,440 square metres, of which around half would be used for actual growing, with the rest devoted to drying, processing, a nursery, storage and administration. It would cover less than 10 per cent of the site and would use town water for cropping, owing to the highly controlled nature of the cultivation.
The height and scale of the buildings is roughly equivalent to that of the existing chicken sheds, which it would replace, meaning it would not impact the views of surrounding properties.
‘The proposed development creates no dust, no noise, no external spray drift, and all harvesting and processing will take place from within the building,’ the application states.
‘The existing poultry sheds with up to 200,000 birds can produce unpleasant odours. The proposed use will have no odour at all,’ it continues.
There will be parking for 22 cars, with an anticipated 44 car movements per day and two heavy vehicle movements per month.
Affected neighbour Wayne Penn told Echonetdaily he had written a submission ‘heartily endorsing’ the proposal, which he said would be ‘both an environmental and ethical improvement on the existing, ageing mass chicken cultivation facility’.
‘Currently we get a distinct, unpleasant odour around two weeks out of every eight-week chicken cycle and there are periods of ongoing noise during the removal of live chickens and cleaning of the sheds at the end of every cycle.
‘The location is ideally sited for a medical cannabis growing facility as it is almost encircled by Byron Creek, creating a natural security barrier,’ he said.
A spokesperson for Byron Shire Council said it had received 14 submissions relating to the proposal but could not advise how many were in support and how many opposed.
The exhibition period closes today (Wednesday February 20).
The author is an affected neighbour.