VIDEO: Kingsville Denies Medical Marijuana Facilities After Public Uproar
Kingsville residents have spoken.
Hundreds turned out to Kingsville council Tuesday night in opposition to a number of proposed medical marijuana growing facilities.
An application by Coppola Farms on Road 2 E across from Kingsville's arena and sportsplex drew the most attention.
After a lengthy debate, that application, along with two others, were ultimately denied by council.
A long list of concerns were brought to council topped by odour, bright lights and the potential impact on property values.
Kingsville residents attend a council meeting on proposed medical marijuana growing facilities on October 9, 2018 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)
Joanne Rivard headed up the group in opposition and says residents are passionate about the issue.
"We were here to rally the community to decline an application to put a medical marijuana farm right across the street from our rec centre, soccer fields, baseball fields. We've seen what's happened in Leamington and the smell issues that they're dealing with and we just didn't want that to happen in Kingsville."
She says Kingsville is setting an example.
"I think there's really an opportunity here as to how a community can get a balance between making industry successful and a win-win for the community. I think we can really actually have a spotlight on this town to be an example of how that can work without destroying a town."
Laura Lucier circulated a petition at the meeting collecting more than 200 signatures in opposition.
She says many people feel like they've been left in the dark.
"There's not enough information and communication with the public. So people don't know, they aren't aware, they don't know what the limitations of the municipal council are and they don't know what is being done and what can be done. People want to know. They just want to be informed and they want to have a voice and they want to be heard."
Kingsville residents Paul Lariviere and Laura Lucier with a petition opposing proposed medical marijuana growing facilities (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)
Tony Coppola is the vice president of Coppola Farms.
He says the town has already approved nine other similar applications.
"There's been nine other facilities that have already been approved for the same thing that we're asking for. So my concern is we have to level the playing field. We can't allow nine competitors or nine business owners to go ahead with theirs and deny one or two of us."
Coppola says he's questioning the motives behind the denial.
"Let's not sugarcoat anything. There's an election coming up. When half of your town shows up to a council meeting, who is going to be the first one to raise their hand and say, "Yes, we welcome this", when 500 people are standing outside and inside waiting for them to make a decision? Which, obviously, the decision they all wanted was no."
He says he's just a businessman trying to make a living.
"I'm not the one that legalized marijuana in Canada. There was a Liberal party and a PM that did that and now we're just looking at the way the economy is changing and the way things are changing for the greenhouse industry. This is another avenue that's opened for us to supply the medical field or whatever other investors or companies want to do."
Coppola says he plans to appeal the decision.
Kingsville mayor Nelson Santos says three other medical marijuana applications on Tuesday night's agenda were deferred.
He says the town is planning to hold a public meeting to discuss those applications — that meeting will be held at a different venue to accommodate a larger crowd.