HARBOUR GRACE, N.L.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
The former Terra Nova Shoes boot factory in Harbour Grace could become the site of an indoor cannabis production facility.
RockLeaf Agriculture Inc., a Newfoundland-owned and -operated company, is looking to apply to Health Canada to become a licensed producer of cannabis for both the medical and recreational markets.
A petition of support is currently available for residents to sign at the town office in Harbour Grace. Mayor Don Coombs confirmed in an interview with The Compass that representatives from the company met with council at a special meeting earlier this year. The town agreed to offer a letter of support to the project and keep a petition of support at the town office.
“They are moving along quite well. They’ve done a walkabout in the area and got good support,” Coombs said. “We look at it as a great opportunity for the Town of Harbour Grace.”
According to a pamphlet RockLeaf distributed in the community, the company anticipates the operation would create 51 jobs — 37 general labour positions plus another 14 in specialized labour and management roles. The plant would devote 30,000 square feet of space to production, allowing the company to produce approximately 3.1 million grams of dried cannabis annually.
The Terra Nova Shoes plant on Water Street closed in 2014 after more than 40 years in business, resulting in the loss of the town’s largest employer. Heart’s Delight businessman Terrence Penney purchased the building from Kodiak Group Holdings in 2017, and it’s currently listed as being available for lease.
RockLeaf estimates the company’s annual tax contribution to the town would be approximately $530,000. That would increase the Town of Harbour Grace’s annual revenue by 16 per cent based on its 2018 budget figure of $3.4 million.
“Overall for the town of Harbour Grace and everywhere else, people are looking at (cannabis) as an opportunity for employment in the area, and that’s going to be the way it is,” Coombs said.
In its pamphlet, the company said that similar to the presence of craft breweries in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, a production facility could create tourism opportunities for the town and help Harbour Grace grow, adding that the economic boost generated by the company would likely increase property values.
RockLeaf Agriculture is presently asking residents to send letters of support to the company by emailing email@example.com or by regular mail to 178 Patrick St., St. John’s, A1C 5C4.
In response to an interview request, the company told The Compass in an email that it would be too early to discuss the project with media.