A $21.5 million medical marijuana facility – expected to provide 95 jobs – is coming to Princeton.
BC Green Pharmaceuticals will begin construction on its newest project at the end of September.
Mayor Frank Armitage made the announcement just before Monday’s regular council meeting.
“I just think it’s great that we can talk about that many jobs for this community,” said Armitage, adding he anticipates 85 per cent of those positions will be filled by local residents.
The plant will be located in the Princeton industrial park on David Brown Way, where BC Green Pharmaceuticals recently purchased three lots from the municipality for $600,000.
“We are really excited to be working in Princeton,” said BC Green Pharmaceuticals spokesperson Bryan Safarik. “I’m really hoping that we can help add to the local economy.”
Phase one of construction – a 79,000 square foot indoor growing operation – will be completed by March 2019. That will coincide with the firm’s first Princeton harvest, said Safarik.A 10,000 square foot extraction lab and 20,0000 square foot research lab will be added over the next year.
Revenues during the phase one stage are projected to be between $40 and $60 million, said Safarik. “Upon completion it would be upwards of $100 million, in that area.”
Safarik said that nearly all the jobs created by the project will be full-time, with approximately half of those being salaried positions. “We will be trying to provide people strong full-time jobs. We feel that works a lot better in the whole culture and environment of our business.”
BC Green is a privately owned and family operated company based in the Fraser Valley.
Founded two and half years ago, it is just now completing its first start up near Abbostford.
The company’s focus, said Safarik, is the development of high quality cannabis products for the pharmaceutical industry, using a model that is sustainable and environmentally-sensitive.
The Princeton plant will market mostly non-smokable products, primarily in Canada.
The plant will have “state-of-the-art” features that limit its carbon footprint, he said. With all growing operations completely covered, and advanced air filtration systems in place, there will be no light pollution or odor.
BC Green Pharmaceutical’s decision to locate in Princeton was made after only about two months of negotiations with the municipality, said Gary Schatz, director of economic development.
“There were some talks because they had seen our business park online…I was more than happy to talk to them about it.”
Staff was able to bypass much of the red tape associated with new business in other communities, said Schatz. “We are functioning at the speed of business. That’s absolutely crucial.”
Schatz said he believes the plant will “jump start” renewed interest in the industrial park, which has 23 lots and is now about 40 per cent sold.
“People are starting to realize we are three hours from Vancouver and two hours from Kelowna and this is a good place to do business.”
While the tax benefit to the municipality “will be significant,” Schatz said a final dollar number can’t be determined until the facility is constructed.
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