Partner/ operations manager Hamed Asl celebrated IDP Group’s purchase of the old Nestlé factory in Chesterville in 2016. Today, despite a slight setback, plans are moving forward with the vertical cannabis facility. File photo
Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
CHESTERVILLE – News of the proposed cannabis grow-operation that had hopes of making a home in the Chesterville plant owned by IDP group has been scarce since the announcement of the interim agreement at the beginning of 2018.
The company previously known as Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp., now Auxly Cannabis Group Inc., announced in their 2018 third quarter documents that they would be pulling out of the deal with IDP Group.
In Auxly Cannabis Group Inc.’s document, Management’s discussion and analysis of financial results, the group writes: “Also in the third quarter of 2018, the company terminated a previously announced interim agreement with IDP Group Inc. Management made the determination that this project was no longer commercially viable for the company, and management does not consider this project to be material.”
Without the cannabis company, building owners IDP are without a partner for the 330,000 square foot facility. The plan, announced in January expected IDP Group to manage the plant operation while Auxly would get a cut of the profits. It would have also meant over 300 jobs for Chesterville and area residents in the next three years.
Many community members and officials were excited about the opportunity to bring a significant amount of employment back to the area after the Nestlé plant closed in 2006.
IDP Group and the operations manager Hamed Asl released a statement this morning, Nov. 21 ensuring that plans to continue with the plant were in the works and the loss of Auxly would not affect the future of the facility.
The statement in its entirety can be found below:
Cannabis Project Update
Tues., Nov. 20 an announcement was made after months of negotiations, the deal with Auxly Cannabis as it relates to the Chesterville Facility has been officially cancelled. There were fundamental differences in strategies between the two companies that would not enable our organization to successfully develop the 330,000 square foot project while maintaining our vision.
We delayed our announcement to extend Auxly the professional courtesy for the first press release, before doing our own.
Some individuals have concluded the entire cannabis project in Chesterville is dead. This assumption is completely inaccurate.
We have already commenced the process in applying to Health Canada to secure our licensing as the first step to launch the project.
Concurrently, negotiations are being conducted with multiple interested parties that include both private and financial institutions that have expressed warranted commitment in investing in the project in phases once a Cannabis Cultivation License is obtained from Health Canada.
As of Nov. 1, we are self funding the project in the following manner:
1. We have allocated $500,000 towards licensing.
2. Construction of the first cultivation rooms and processing area will begin January 2019.
3. $50,000 has been allocated towards finalizing the development and initiate patent processes of our proprietary vertical farming system with partnerships including local technology companies.
4. We have paid the Township of North Dundas $250,633.77, as of Nov. 1, completing our tax extension agreement seven years early, with interest.
5. We have invested just over $2-million dollars into restoring the facility and preparation of this project up to date.
6. We recently secured our new president, Jim Harper, and vice president of financial, Stephen Davies, and will be actively seeking candidates for positions of master grower and quality assurance in February of 2019. Interested Candidates are encouraged to forward their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Additional updates on additional job postings for all production / construction and logistic positions will be forthcoming.
We want to express sincere gratitude to everyone locally who has been providing support for this project that includes our staff, all the members of the community, and our township officials.
We fully believe in this project and will continue to move it forward until such a time that the right partner that believes in our vision, core values and community commitment, presents itself and is as excited as we are to become a part of this community. If that doesn’t happen, we will roll our sleeves an inch higher than before and do it ourselves.
To those who thought somehow this would be the end, thanks for the chuckles, and sorry to disappoint.
Hamed Asl and Mike Dagenais