Neighbours fuming over foul smell from marijuana greenhouses
VANASTRA, ONT. -- Several Vanastra residents say they are fed up with the foul smell coming from a marijuana production facility in their village.
“I can’t go out on a nice day and leave my windows open. I’ve done that, by mistake, and the whole interior of my home smells like marijuana,” says Phil Stetzler, who lives near the greenhouses growing cannabis.
A marijuana growing facility moved into the former Plant Paradise greenhouses in Vanastra about two-and-a-half years ago. Local homeowner and pastor, Josh McCarthy, says it didn’t take long for the foul odours to begin.
“We can’t have the windows open in the summer anymore because of the smell. We have folks walk out the church doors and the smell hits them, and they say, 'What is this?' It’s overwhelming."
The local municipality says they’re just as frustrated.
Huron East Councillor Ray Chartrand says they didn’t know the facility was even approved until neighbours told them. They’ve tried to put bylaws in place to protect citizens from the smell, with limited success.
“The federal government releases these licences, but don’t notify the lower tier whatsoever, so we are blindsided,” he says.
Chartrand says there’s now another marijuana facility in operation in Vanastra, with plans for yet another growing facility inside the former Radome building.
“Residents see their little village becoming the cannabis capital of Ontario. I understand their frustration and we’re frustrated too, and I know other municipalities are in the same boat as us."
Andy Smart has lived in Vanastra for more than 30 years, he says “People have said, why don’t you move. Well, I don’t want to move. This is my place of residence."
McCarthy adds, “There are seniors in the community that have told us that if they leave their laundry out to dry, when they bring it back in their clothes just reek of marijuana. So they can’t do that. They can’t go outdoors. Is it impacting our community? It’s impacting our community, majorly."
Attempts to reach the operators of the former Plant Paradise marijuana facility, were unsuccessful.