Cannabis company working on fix to 'skunk' odour coming from greenhouses

'We want to be good neighbours'

Brian Higgins CBC News·Posted: Apr 16, 2020 6:00 AM AT

Harvesting operations in the newly expanded plant are a source of the odour that 'often gets misinterpreted as a skunk,' says Figr's vice-president of operations. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)


A Charlottetown councillor says residents in his ward are complaining of an odour coming from a facility that grows cannabis in their neighbourhood.

Greg Rivard says he's received about 15 complaints from residents in the northwest end of the city.

"I think with the nice weather starting, people are wanting to get their windows open and with that I think they're noticing the odour more," said Rivard.

"We're having senior staff of the city look into possible solutions."

The complaints started about six weeks ago, according to Rivard. The complaints are all from residents living within about 150 metres of the Figr greenhouses in the bioscience industrial park. The affected neighbourhoods include Hurry Road and the Sandalwood subdivision to the north of the plant, as well as homes in Orchard Park to the south, according to Rivard.

"I don't think it's a health risk, just a nuisance," he said.

Managers of the Figr facility said they're aware of the complaints and are working on a fix.

"We want to be a good neighbour," said Alex Smith, vice-president of operations for Figr.

The plant recently underwent a large expansion and harvesting operations are now underway on a daily basis, according to Smith. Certain strains of cannabis may produce more odour than others during the harvesting process, "and often gets misinterpreted as a skunk," Smith said.

The company is now adjusting air-quality control systems that were recently installed to better filter-out and where necessary, mask or neutralize the odours. The system could eventually be linked to outdoor atmospheric conditions, to respond to changes in wind direction and temperature. 

"There's a number of different solutions that we have here," said Smith, "And obviously some that we're continuing to tweak.

"When you're expanding at a rapid pace and you're going through the growth that we're experiencing, you're going to have some learning curves."

Senior staff at the city of Charlottetown are consulting with cities in other parts of Canada, as they investigate the issue and possible actions to resolve it.

"It may fall under the nuisance bylaw," said Rivard. "But again we don't want to go that far ... they certainly want to be good neighbours."

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