MEDICINE HAT – Aurora Cannabis is looking to build its biggest cannabis production facility right here in Medicine Hat.
The announcement was made during Monday night’s city council meeting.
Aurora and the city have signed a memorandum of understanding confirming both are interested in seeing the company develop and operate a production and processing facility in the city.
The MOU includes a 10 year 42 mega watt energy supply agreement.
For the city it means having a long-term large utility customer.
“We have more than enough capacity to meet this demand,” said Mayor Ted Clugston. “We have a power contract which we’ll make a rate of return on, I can’t say how much.”
The production and processing facility will be 1.2 million square feet in size, or equivalent of 21 football fields and will be built right across from the Canalta Centre.
Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora Cannabis Inc. Said it will be the largest facility of its kind in the world.
Aurora Sun would also create an estimated 700 plus construction jobs and over 450 permanent jobs, which would make it the single largest employer in the city.
“It’s going to be well north of $120-$130 million, it’s going to employ a lot of people in the area and it’s going to bring an economic bonus to the city,” said Booth.
Mayor Clugston told the media these are not minimum wage jobs, that they will range from non skilled work like production and picking, to PHD scientists doing research.
Invest Medicine Hat approached the company last year to pitch the city as a location for the facility.
Ryan Jackson said the city’s abundance of natural sunlight, city owned utilities and quality of life for employees were the reasons they chose to build here.
“Ultimately our goal was to sell the city, so we went out and sold the city,” said Jackson. “From the time we first started with out first visit in July it moved rapidly.”
A land deal will see the city providing significant assistance to cover the cost of off-site levies, which go to pay for things like roads and water and sewer infrastructure.
In this case the city will contribute 72% of the off site levy in the first 23 hectare phase of the project, 100% of the five hectare second phase, and an undetermined amount for a possible third future development. A total of $6.6 million dollars.
Mayor Ted Clugston said the city was willing to provide that incentive in order to ensure the company came to the Hat.
“The number one thing people say is we need jobs,” explained Mayor Clugston. “We didn’t want to lose this to another municipality who was being more aggressive or more accommodating and we worked extremely hard to land this deal.”
The facility would be located in the Box Springs business park and Booth said the company would like to see construction get under way as soon as possible.
“I’d like to move dirt tomorrow, that’s how quick this is going to be,” Booth mused. “We’re fully committed to getting this thing done by the end of the year.”
The company expects to be producing cannabis in Medicine Hat by February, and could be producing upwards of 150,000 kilograms of it on a yearly basis, for both domestic and international distribution from this location alone.
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