Cannabis plant

The shaded area in yellow shows the proposed location of a cannabis production faciilty in West Kelowna. Residents of a nearby mobile home park are opposed to the project. Council will consider the proposal on Tuesday.

A proposed cannabis production plant will likely ignite heated debate in a virtual way when the matter comes before West Kelowna city council on Tuesday.

Dozens of nearby residents have registered their opposition, fearing problems such as foul smells, bothersome noise, and a potential drop in their property owners.

"So now you're proposing to have a cannabis operation where I've read the odour is comparable to a skunk, and the noise from the generators can be unbearable," Sandy Manske writes in a typical letter of objection.

"I suffer from COPD. The odour and air pollution emanating from these growing places could affect my breathing," writes Hazel Albers in another letter of objection.

The proposed site, at 2648 Kyle Rd., already has a zoning that would allow for a cannabis production facility, which is a legal business under federal law.

But the matter must still come before council for approval because of the nature of the industrial park for which it is proposed.

City regulations normally prohibit cannabis producers from being located in a multi-tenant industrial park. Although that's the nature of the Kyle Road project, it's currently under construction, and future tenants would be moving in knowing they'd be next to a pot producer.

Council must also agree to waive a normal rule that cannabis plants be located at least 150 metres from any nearby residence. Brookhaven Care home is nearby, but there's a creek and riparian area that city officials say increases the "functional separation" to 245 metres.

Municipal staff had originally suggested council cancel the normal public hearing and directly approve the cannabis production facility, in part because COVID-19 physical distancing regulations prohibit large gatherings.

But councillors decided earlier this month to go ahead with the public hearing.

The 6 p.m. meeting on Tuesday will be conducted online, with councillors participating electronically and interested members of the public giving their views through a "web conference" system being set up by municipal staff.