Article by Kate Dubinski, CBC News
It’s a place where generations of young minds were cultivated.
But soon, the former Leesboro Central Public School in Thorndale, Ont. will cultivate something very different: marijuana.
The former staff room will be a nursery for young buds.
And the library and classrooms will be home to hundreds of plants.
The gym? Shipping and receiving.
Rob O’Neill is the owner of JC Green — and a former student at the small school, which was shuttered in 2009 by the Thames Valley District School board.
“It was a great little school, a little country school. It was really personal,” O’Neill said.
The school was purchased by another local man soon after it closed, and has sat vacant ever since, drawing in thieves looking to steal copper or use its empty walls as a canvas for graffiti.
But earlier this week, Municipality of Thames Centre councillors approved a zoning change for the site — from agricultural to agricultural commercial — that paves the way for it to become a medicinal marijuana greenhouse.
“We’re a typical conservative small rural community, so I wasn’t sure what the public feedback would be,” said Thames Centre councillor Kelly Elliott. “But they seemed to welcome it and I think it’s even more welcome that it’s local people doing this, not some big corporation coming in.”
The only public input on the zoning change was from a neighbouring landowner, thanking the municipality for its planning work and welcoming O’Neill to the site.
O’Neill has been working with Health Canada to get the necessary permits in order.