Dreamy grow facility aims to offer the ultimate pot experience

The state-of-the-art grow, which will feature a spa and microbrewery, hopes to take advantage of its proximity to the wilds of Ontario’s most famous park

Wooden dock with chairs on calm fall lake

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With the purchase of an old warehouse on 80 hectares in Eastern Ontario, AeroPonLeaf Canada is ready to put down cannabis roots.

The growing concern is pitching a plan to turn the hamlet of Bird’s Creek three hours outside of Toronto into a cannabis destination for those seeking the ultimate pot party – a state-of-the-art grow facility with spa and microbrewery. There are also plans for an “adult destination park” with a resort hotel, fine dining and cottages to take advantage of the proposed facility’s proximity to the East Gate of Algonquin Park.

Visitors will be able to view how the product is made and then settle-in for spa activities while enjoying cannabis-infused beverages. The plan could be a game-changer for an area that is desperate for an economic kick. And who doesn’t love a good cannabis kick?

 

Plans for a sprawling cannabis production facility in the hamlet of Bird’s Creek has Hastings Highlands all hopped up.

Company CEO William Sharpe, a past owner of Lakeport Brewing, is relying on his experience in the beverage industry to grow the project. He’s been recruited by some influential backers. Former LCBO chair Andy Brandt and former career diplomat and Harper-era cabinet minister Chris Alexander are on the company’s board.

“They brought me into the investor’s group two years ago to look at a brewery in Pickering,” Sharpe
says. “I said that we should look at cannabis. The [profit] margins are way better.”

According to Sharpe, cannabis products will be available for recreational enjoyment, medical use and health and wellness applications.

The goal is to produce 20 per cent dried flower and 80 per cent cannabis oil using an aeroponic growing method pioneered by the Silicon Valley outfit AEssence. The growing method requires no soil and reduces water use by 70 to 90 per cent. There’s also a plan to coordinate with local farmers to start growing hemp to supplement the planned oil production.

“We’re going to be a manufacturing centre,” Sharpe explains. “We can produce under licensed names and co-pack for companies that don’t create their own.”

There are still major hurdles, like a license to produce. But the Municipality of Hastings Highlands is cheering on the project. The mayor has already presented Sharpe with the key to the city. Construction is set to begin on the first 8,000 square foot grow room in 2020. Sharpe believes the necessary approvals won’t be far off.

He hopes that year-round access to the cannabis production facility will be a draw in itself. But also recognizes the strength of the current snowmobiler and ATV tourism market. The company is also looking to branch out as suppliers to the restaurant and tourism industry.

A bigger challenge will be finding enough skilled workers in an area of the province that tends to draw retirees. Sharpe is already in talks with the local community college to build cannabis worker capacity.

With a fresh blanket of snow covering the quiet Bird’s Creek acreage this season, locals will be hoping to add a little green by Christmas 2020.

 

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