A rural North Shuswap property that was supposed to be the home of a cannabis production facility is currently the subject of an $8.5 million transaction reportedly delayed by COVID-19.
The property is owned by Citation Growth Corp. – formerly Liht Cannabis Corp. (and Marapharm Ventures before that). In 2018, the company sought to transform the 40-acre lot, once a family farm, into a medical cannabis production facility, with 10 buildings at 10,000-square-feet each, all with the capacity to grow 1.6 million grams annually. Proponents of the facility hoped the operation would bring 100 jobs to the region – work directly related to cannabis production as well as office and transport work.
In an April 15, 2020 release, Citation announced that on April 8, it had executed a letter of intent for the sale of the property with Indigenomix International, a private Saskatchewan-based business, for the agreed price of $8.5 million.
“The Definitive Agreement includes a commitment from Citation to support Indigenomix on regulatory requirements, an intellectual property license for certain organic growing methodologies and other material technology,” stated the release.
In a June 30, 2020 release, Citation announced the transaction had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Sept. 1, 2020 release, Citation announced it had extended its agreement with Indigenomix for the sale of its Celista assets. However, with continuing challenges from the global pandemic, “the ability to close the transaction on the latest timeline has proven challenging.”
“We are working together to close the sale of our Celista assets to the Indigenomix group and are confident we can do so in a reasonable time frame,” commented Citation president Erik Anderson. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to meet our most recent deadline due to COVID-19 restrictions, but we have been given further confidence through additional non-refundable deposits. We look forward to releasing information regarding a successful transaction shortly.”
Neither Anderson nor Citation replied to a request for an update on the transaction.
Jay Simpson, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s director for the North Shuswap/Electoral Area F, said he didn’t have any new information either.
“I’m disappointed that it didn’t happen the way it was supposed to and I’m disappointed we didn’t get the jobs that were suggested were going to happen,” said Simpson. “I look forward to the new owners coming in and making a going concern of it.”
Deanna Kawatski, who lives across the road from Citation’s Celista property, is watching and waiting to see what happens on the lot. She says except for the placement of a crude sign saying, “Do not enter construction site,” there’s been little notable activity there for a while.
Kawatski has several concerns with the property and the proposed cannabis facility, should it come to fruition, including how it might impact her water supply.
“We have water that goes under the road and over there and of course that’s a concern for us because if they start really sucking it dry it could impact our water,” said Kawatski. “But nobody has listened to us. It’s been very disheartening.”