Powell River’s economic development prospects are progressing.
At the Tuesday, April 2, committee of the whole meeting, mayor Dave Formosa reported on the Townsite cannabis facility, and airport development.
Formosa said he had an interesting phone call from Alex Coleman, chief executive officer of TILT, the company operating the cannabis facility in the old mill office in Townsite, formerly known as Santé Veritas Therapeutics.
“I’m pleased to announce that we should see them in full swing very soon,” said Formosa.
The mayor said he asked about the number of jobs that would be created and Coleman could not confirm, but that he would get back to the mayor for an overview. He said TILT has become a large corporation and that it is a fully integrated company, with the Powell River operation being a part of it.
Formosa said Powell River is going to become the company’s research centre, so it will be conducting research into both consumer and medicinal products.
“They will be growing products and testing products,” said Formosa. “They are quite excited.”
Formosa said the city owns the building that the company occupies and TILT pays a handsome lease. The city is also receiving taxes.
“On that land we never received taxes because it’s part of the mill block,” he added. “Now that we have it separated we receive nice taxes off of it and a nice monthly rent. [TILT] has spent something like $27 million on it, within a building the city owns.”
The company does have an option to purchase the facility, according to the mayor.
“It’s been a win and it will continue to be a win,” said Formosa.
Formosa also said he and staff met with representatives of Gaoshi (Canada) Holdings, the company that signed the long-term lease at Powell River Airport. He said they talked about logistics around the project they are wanting to do at the airport and the issues of working with Transport Canada and all of the restrictions they have on them, and the city has upon itself as landlord.
“I think we are able to continue to move things along in a good manner,” said Formosa. “Their concern is within the lease; we put a stipulation in that if they are not building the first building by the end of four years, we have the option of taking the lease back. They are concerned that they don’t want to miss that window. It has already been six or seven months.”
Formosa said the leaseholders are still trying to get a fence around the property. They also want to go in and brush the lands so they can start doing more detailed work on the upgrades to the land, he added.
“It is going to be quite expensive,” said Formosa. “There’s a lot of groundwork they have to do there just to bring the land up to snuff, never mind sewer, water and all the other things.”
Formosa said the leaseholders seem committed.
Gaoshi Holdings has a $600,000 99-year lease with City of Powell River for 4.6 hectares of airport property.
Phase one of the project will include two buildings: one for mixed used and the other for a hanger that will fit two commuter aircraft similar in size to those used by Pacific Coastal Airlines. Plans for the two-storey mixed-use building include a comfortable lounge area for passengers and a cafeteria.