The chair of the Town of Pelham’s cannabis control committee is urging people to go through the proper channel when complaining about odours from commercial grow operations.
Pelham passed its odorous industries nuisance bylaw in March to address issues from residents with respect to the smell of marijuana moving through the town. It has a public complaints component, which can be accessed through a series of clicks on the municipality’s website.
Tim Nohara has been leading the municipal committee for a year and a half, “pioneering a regulatory framework” with the municipality.
With the recently launched opportunity for people to go on the record with concerns about odour, Nohara hopes people realize this is the most effective way to have their voices heard.
In the past, residents have raised concerns with members of council, provincial and federal politicians, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as Health Canada.
“Residents have been filing complaints for the last year or two in a number of ways,” Nohara said in a recent interview.
“There’s a proper way for them to file a complaint now, and there’s an opportunity for the town to respond,” he added, admitting the system is “not very user-friendly.”
The municipality’s bylaw department has also acquired a device that measures odours coming from facilities, said Nohara.
The committee that oversees issues pertaining to large-scale cannabis farms in Pelham formed in 2019.
“They realized it was going to be a complicated issue,” he said about the municipality fielding questions and concerns about the new industry moving into the area.
“It continues to be a challenge for residents,” he said.
How bad is the smell?
On the worst days, Nohara said he’s heard people describe it as “putrid” and “obnoxious.”
Nohara said the smell is so strong that it is also being felt by people in Welland who live along the Pelham border.
When plants at the indoor facilities in Pelham reach the flowering stage, residents notice the smell the most, he said.
“The odour comes in waves. It’s not continuous, but it’s significant,” he said.