March 5th, 2021

Aurora seeks trailer setup while facility is finished

By COLLIN GALLANT on June 26, 2019.

NEWS PHOTO EMMA BENNETT
Construction of Aurora Cannabis continues. The company will soon begin growing plants in Medicine Hat, and hopes to secure a temporary licence to set up trailers for staff and logistics while the main facility is completed.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

As its main greenhouse and office complex is still being built, Aurora Cannabis plans to place temporary trailers on the site for staff and logistics ahead of commissioning its main buildings, the News has learned.

A permit to position eight trailers on site of the massive 1.6-million square-foot growing facility and shipping facility will be discussed today at the Medicine Hat municipal planning commission.

That comes about two months after Aurora revealed it added about one-third more space, thereby lengthening the construction schedule of the cannabis growing facility that’s rapidly taking shape this spring at 3101 Box Springs Way.

During an update in April the company reiterated its plans to begin operating in the facility in phases, essentially getting the grow bays at one end operating even while construction continues at the far end.

Company officials told the News on Tuesday that significant progress is being made. While initial operations could begin shortly, past experience shows it could be a year until the entire “Aurora Sun” facility is fully licensed and up to full production.

Documents submitted to the municipal planning commission in Medicine Hat show the company is applying to put several “temporary trailers” on the site. The 5,000-square-foot project would consist of offices, staff rooms and storage.

The complex would become a base for staff as hiring “ramps up,” according to company officials.

That matter will be heard Wednesday when the commission meets at 2 p.m. in city council chambers.

As for ongoing construction, the company stated in its third quarter financial filings in May that the erection of the steel greenhouse structure would be complete in late June, with glass roof panelling completed shortly thereafter.

Full construction is set to be complete in “mid 2020” about the same time other company financial filings suggest “full planting” could take place.

In the segmented greenhouse at Leduc (the so-called Aurora Sky facility), harvests occur in three-and-a-half-day intervals in tightly controlled environmental conditions, according to company literature.

That 800,000-square-foot greenhouse is considered the first “sky class” facility and only received full Health Canada licensing in February 2019. That was about three months after it secured a sales licence from federal regulators and one year after its cultivation licence was granted and initial growing began.

The Medicine Hat facility is also subject to Health Canada licensing requirements.

Municipally, a unique situation has Aurora to applying directly to the commission in order to spot the work trailers.

Current land-use bylaws do not allow the production of the recently decriminalized crop in any existing land designations, but administrators moved to rezone the land direct control last summer.

An addendum gives the planning commission authority to approve applications rather than have them move to general council each time, thereby reducing wait times.

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[…] For now, however, the temporary 5,000 sq.-ft. setup will feature a staff room, offices, storage space and a production room—located in eight trailers. […]