A stop work order and a do not occupy notice are taped to two unfinished 10,000 square-foot buildings on a North Shuswap property once promised to be home to a cannabis production facility that would provide 100 jobs.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) placed the notices on the 40-acre property at 2555 Garland Rd. on March 16, 2022, after staff were informed the property’s current ownership group would not be providing documentation from registered professionals required under the BC Building Code.
The building permit for the structures expired on April 25, 2022.
CSRD corporate officer and manager of corporate services Jennifer Sham explained this to the board during its meeting on Sept. 22, when the board authorized staff to file a Section 57 notice on the property’s title, alerting subsequent owners of “outstanding building regulation non-compliance.”
“I find this – unfortunate is too small a word,” commented Electoral Area F (North Shuswap) director Jay Simpson. “This was an Area F North Shuswap potential business that was going to be hiring and working with a number of people in the North Shuswap. It was a job-creation opportunity that has not happened and that’s seriously unfortunate. At this point, what do you do?”
Construction on one of the buildings at 2555 Garland Rd. in Celista was started in late 2018 by the property’s former owner, Liht Cannabis Corp. In November 2018, representatives from Liht (later known as Citation Growth Corp. and then Fiore Cannabis Ltd.) held public meetings in Celista and Blind Bay, during which they said they aimed to bring around 100 jobs to the area. Neighbours raised concerns regarding the impact the development would have on their day-to-day lives, and how it would impact the agricultural land it was being built on.
According to the CSRD, a building permit for the two buildings was issued on April 24, 2019.
Sham explained the building code and CSRD Building Regulation Bylaw 666-3 required assurances from registered professionals for all trades disciplines involved.
On Aug. 4, 2021, Fiore announced it had signed a definitive agreement with 1313721 BC Ltd. to transfer ownership of its Celista assets, as well as sell the company’s subsidiaries, Marapharm Inc and Full Spectrum Medicinal Inc., “in consideration for debt and liabilities associated with the purchasing stakeholders.”
“The definitive agreement enables Fiore to clean up its balance sheet by eliminating approximately $3.9 million of total liabilities, including a mortgage and other obligations,” read the Aug. 4 media release.
Sham said staff were made aware of the new ownership group in September.
“Staff worked with the new owner to have the file changed into the new ownership group’s name,” said Sham. “A list of requirements was provided; however, the full requirements were never submitted.
“On Dec. 20, 2021, staff received an email from the co-ordinating registered professional and engineer of record, informing the CSRD that all of the required registered professional assurances… were to be withdrawn.”
Sham said on March 15, 2022, CSRD staff communicated with the owners and were told the required assurances would be provided. However, the owners then contacted staff and confirmed they would not be providing the required documents. During this conversation, staff relayed a stop work order and a do not occupy notice would be placed on the buildings, “At which time they confirmed that they understood and that there is no work currently underway or planned for the future.”
To do anything with the buildings, Sham said the owners must apply for a new building permit. The notice on the property title could be removed as long as the building permit is re-issued and the structures are brought into compliance with the building code and bylaw 660-3.
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