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Candre Cannabis fully funded and ready to build

The president of the company behind the proposal to build a multi-million-dollar medicinal cannabis production facility in Sundre said the project is “fully funded and ready to build.
WEB-Candre Cannabis presentation 2
About 200 people attended a public open house and job fair at the Sundre Community Centre last Tuesday evening to learn more about a proposed medicinal cannabis production facility that would create dozens of local, full-time and permanent jobs.

The president of the company behind the proposal to build a multi-million-dollar medicinal cannabis production facility in Sundre said the project is “fully funded and ready to build.”

Jesse Beaudry, CEO of Candre Cannabis, attended a March 27 public open house and job fair at the Sundre Community Centre with members of his team to offer information about the project as well as address any questions or concerns.

Leading up to the event, Beaudry said during an interview that he and his staff had already fielded dozens of phone calls from people inquiring about the project, and that those conversations typically concluded with callers welcoming the substantial investment. However, he does not expect everybody to unequivocally be supportive from the start.

“There should be some good questions. It’s about educating and earning the respect of the community and over time, hopefully we can demonstrate that cannabis production is a good fit for Sundre.”

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Candre has for the better part of the past year been preparing a business plan, which includes work on a detailed Health Canada application that he said is coming along well. The company has also been communicating with the Town of Sundre’s administrative team, which is supportive of opportunities that benefit the municipality, he said.

“They worked hard at developing bylaws and communicating with local stakeholders,” he said about Sundre’s administration.

Among the next steps was to secure financing, which is now in place, he said.

“That was massive. Until then, it was a lot of talk.”

The development permit was recently submitted to the municipality, which led to the information session. The past year has been a bit “surreal,” and responses to date have been encouraging, he said.

“It feels like we have a real opportunity of making this a real project.”

Looking ahead to the following months and beyond, Beaudry said while the project for now remains a proposal, he is optimistic the municipality and community will be supportive and is planning accordingly.

Assuming Candre gets the green light from local officials and residents, the company would then aim to complete its cultivation licensing process with Health Canada, he said. The next step would be to submit an application for a building permit with the Town of Sundre.

“And then we get very busy with construction,” he said, adding work could begin this spring and that the facility would, barring any unanticipated issues or delays, be operational and ready to begin growing this fall.

In turn, hiring is becoming of “paramount” importance for the company with efforts ongoing, he said. An estimated 50 full-time permanent positions will be needed.

The company has no intention of selling medicinal cannabis out of its facility, he stressed.

“We have no plans to do that. We are not a dispensary — it just will not happen. We will produce it and then we will sell it in a variety of ways,” such as through the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission or wholesale to other producers as well as online and shipped by postal service.

At peak production, about 9,000 kilograms a year would be grown in the proposed first phase of the 42,000-square-foot vertical grow operation. Candre also has further plans to expand.

While the company’s financial backers are anxious to move to the 100,000-square-foot second phase and beyond, Beaudry has asked them to be patient.

“The money behind us would like to see us go all the way to 500,000 square feet. I get a bit nervous about that size,” he said, referring to a possible third phase.

“I wouldn’t mind actually seeing the first facility get built. That, to me, is prudent. But I’m absolutely very happy to move forward and expand if the community would allow us, and I think that from what I’ve seen and heard from the people, there’s a lot of talent in Sundre that could help us get there.”

The facility would include typical office spaces such as meeting and administrative rooms as well as a front desk, security and IT. However, the bulk of the building would be dedicated largely to the highly secured growing operation, with some space reserved for processing, packaging and shipping, he said.

But without good people and community support, the company cannot hope to succeed and Candre is fully committed to hiring locally, he said.

“This has got to be a team effort. Our success, we hope, turns into your success.”

Given the opportunity to do business in Sundre, Beaudry is asking for one year to live up to Candre’s promises, and encouraged everyone to hold the company accountable to its words.

The acquisition for the property, which is located in the light industrial district south of Tim Hortons, is being finalized and some initial preparation of the land has already begun, he said.

While security clearances will be an absolute requirement for some of the key positions including cultivation, there will be numerous opportunities that cater to a variety of skill sets that can be transferred from service sector jobs, for example. Backgrounds in administration, finance, IT, security, operations, and shipping will all be welcome, he said.

“A lot of experience is interchangeable…(but) we are going to hire for personality and character before experience. Good people are what make good companies, and that’s where we start.”

Mayor Terry Leslie attended the open house and spoke favourably about the proposal.

“This gives us the opportunity to see our commercial and industrial tax base grow, which means that we won’t rely so heavily on the residential tax base. We need more of a balance, so this is a great project,” said Leslie.

Jon Allan, Sundre’s economic development officer, said the significance this proposed project represents for the municipality cannot be understated.

“The town already has a diverse economy. This adds to it even further,” said Allan.

“We know that the economy is rebounding and it’s doing quite well right now in fact. But there’s still that cohort of people who are probably still looking for better work, or are maybe under employed. This represents a good opportunity for them to diversify their employment options.”

Mike Beukeboom, the Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce president of four years, seems to agree.

“We’re absolutely thrilled. We talk about new industry in this community and really this is a form of agriculture, so it’s adding to an already fantastic industry that we currently have in this area. This is exactly what we need.”

Meanwhile, the commander of the Sundre RCMP detachment does not seem to harbour any reservations about the proposal.

“The company is very dedicated to bringing a very solid economic opportunity to the town, and I think that they seem very sincere and dedicated to ensuring that they follow all the rules and regulations by Health Canada and all of the town bylaws,” said Sgt. Jim Lank.

“These facilities are going to — and already are — popping up in many municipalities so why shouldn’t Sundre take advantage of this economic opportunity?”



Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel is the editor of the Sundre Round Up and a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.
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