MORRISBURG — Residents here are awaiting more details about the cannabis industry player touted to bring up to 60 new jobs to their community following the purchase of four acres from the local municipality.
South Dundas Council accepted ASK Estates Incorporated’s reported $100,000 purchase offer Aug. 13 for the parcel in the village industrial park, north of County Rd. 2. The sale is due close later this fall — 90 days after council’s passage of the involved bylaw last month, the municipality’s economic development officer, Rob Hunter, told Nation Valley News this week.
The purchaser will develop a “cannabis facility” on the vacant site, according to Hunter’s report to council. ASK lacks any online profile, and at least one media account has suggested the outfit is merely the developer for another unnamed cannabis industry entity yet to come out of the woodwork. Hunter, however, will neither confirm nor deny that idea, referring to his brief Aug. 13 statement to council. “I can’t share that at this time,” Hunter said, adding “a lot more information” will be released when the sale concludes.
“It’s certainly going to be a good news story,” he said, also confirming the planned building would be 50,000 square feet in size.
The economic development officer “has been working with representatives from ASK Estates Inc. for quite sometime regarding the purchase and development of property in the Morrisburg Industrial Park,” according to his report.
“After several months of back and forth discussions, company representatives came to South Dundas in March 2019 to visit the community and look at the property to ensure that it would meet their requirements. Since that visit municipal staff and company representatives have been working towards finalizing a purchase agreement.”
The facility “is expected to employ 15 people full-time in the first year of operation upon being licensed by Health Canada,” adds Hunter, with numbers “expected to grow to approximately 60 full-time jobs, after the facility is fully built out.”
Health Canada is the licensing body for both recreational and medical marijuana facilities. The economic development officer would not disclose which of those categories is involved at the South Dundas site.
It’s not the first time a Morrisburg industrial property has been slated for revival through the production of a mind-altering substance. In 2008, a micro brewery bought a former animal feed-processing site on Allison Drive, although that proposed project never materialized in the end.
When questioned by NVN, South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds recalled the fizzled “Slater Brewery” as a proposal ahead of its time and said he was “fairly confident” in the cannabis developers that have come forward now. “We have our money so it will be up to them to get it done. Rob Hunter has done his due diligence on them so I am hopeful it will turn out for them and South Dundas,” the mayor said by email.
This article has been edited to include more comments from Hunter and a comment from Mayor Steven Byvelds.