May 15, 2018 – Melanie Irwin, Blackburn News – High Park Farms in Enniskillen Township is officially open for business.
Local dignitaries joined staff for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and private tours of the $30-million medical marijuana facility on Lasalle Line Tuesday morning.
Mayor Kevin Marriott says it’s an honour to be the municipality hosting the facility.
“Right from last year, it was exciting for us to see something that is going to become our largest employer,” says Marriott.
The 100-acre property — that includes 13 acres of greenhouse space — is heavily regulated by Health Canada and secured by an 8 ft fence, hundreds of cameras and intrusion detection.
Production started earlier this month when thousands of live marijuana plants arrived in a carefully choreographed trip from Nanaimo, British Columbia.
High Park Master Horticulturist Françoise Lévesque says they’re now growing in one section of the greenhouse — which has been split up into eight zones.
“Right now we are continuing the vegetative allotment of zone two and preparing, at the end of this week, for the propagation of zone three,” says Lévesque. “Those two zones have been approved by Health Canada.”
She says each zone will be approved by the federal department as they continue through their cycle of generating new plants from cuttings.
“By the time we are done with the propagation of zone three, zone one and four that is under construction right now will be completed,” says Lévesque. “So we will be able to continue our sequence of production.”
Lévesque says the greenhouses have been transformed significantly since growing peppers at the site.
“We added concrete, so it’s easier to clean. We replaced the gutters. We created crop support. We added lights. We added fans. We added insect screens to the vents so that we don’t have anything coming in,” says Lévesque.
Each area of the facility requires key card access and workers are required to wear gowns and hair nets in areas with plants.
The first harvest is expected in June.
Recreational marijuana use is expected to be legalized in Canada later this year.