MORRISBURG – During a recent council meeting, Municipality of South Dundas politicians voted in favour of refusing two separate zoning amendment applications for cannabis production facilities in Morrisburg and Riverside Heights.
The decisions were made in two consecutive action requests during the municipality’s Feb. 14 council meeting. First on the docket was the zoning amendment request for 45 Allison Avenue in Morrisburg, followed by the zoning amendment request for 13373 County Road 2 in Riverside Heights, both of which were denied in accordance with municipal planning consultant Peter Young’s recommendations.
Among other things, Young cited the enormous backlash from residents during the public meeting held in November 2021 as grounds for his recommendation to refuse both applications. In addition to resident backlash, there were also several business owners who came forward to speak against the amendments, including Eckel Industries’ chief operating officer and director Brian Harris.
“Throughout the years, Eckel’s supported the local community in more ways than one, injecting millions of dollars into the local economy,” Harris said during the public meeting on Nov. 22, 2021.
“Allowing a cannabis processing plant at 45 Allison, Eckel’s business would no doubt be compromised. Odours absorbed into our products would damage it, thereby adversely affecting sales and our relationship with our customers and federal agencies. We would not be able to sell our product. We would not be able to cross borders. Therefore, and it must be concluded this point on, I really don’t like to have to say this, should this happen, we at Eckel will have to reassess our ongoing operations within Morrisburg.”
Referencing the backlash from residents and local business owners, members of council agreed they were unwilling to alter current zoning setback requirements for either of the two properties. Coun. Don Lewis said with the amount of land currently available in the municipality for this type of facility, he didn’t think it was necessary to allow it in areas not already zoned for it.
“I agree with council, we struggle where we need to put these setbacks. I think they’re as fair as we can be for now,” Mayor Steven Byvelds said. “We certainly did hear from a significant amount of the public at that time. Not only those who live near the area but also work near the area. So, I agreed with them during that meeting, and I agree with them now.”
Young’s reports can be found in the agenda package for Feb. 14, which can be found on the municipal website (southdundas.com). For those looking to watch the meeting for themselves, a recording of the meeting can be found on the township’s YouTube page.