ARICHAT: As Canadians prepare for the legalization of cannabis on October 17, Richmond County is trying to get in on a new industry.

Richmond CAO Kent MacIntyre confirmed that the management team of Headland Cultivation Inc. – a company planning a cannabis production operation in the Richmond Light Industrial Park in Lennox Passage – will visit the county from October 10-12 for an orientation and training session.

The 10-person delegation will include the company’s management and supervisory team, as well as Headland’s two owners.

“They’re going to do a training session here, they’re going to explore the area, get used to what Richmond County is all about,” the CAO noted. “They’ll get a really good feel.”

Although the road to the operation will not be complete in time for the company’s tour, MacIntyre said municipal crews have started land clearing, the Request for Proposals for engineering work recently closed and road construction is expected to start within the next three to four weeks.

“We’re punching the road in to almost 500 metres to the rear of the property,” MacIntyre explained. “The federal government is partnering with us, which is absolutely wonderful. So it’ll be somewhere in the vicinity of $900,000 for the road.”

Not only will this new road help Headland, it will also allow the municipality to sell more property in the light industrial park.

“The advantage of putting that road into their piece of property, which is at the back of the property, the 27 acres, is when we put the road in, that’ll open up 14 new lots for us to sell,” the CAO noted. “They’ll be fully serviced, water, sewer and three-phase power.

“They’re of some value. So we’re going to have those appraised very shortly to see what they’re each worth… We suspect they’ll be worth somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000.”

Last year, Headland Cultivation Inc. purchased 27.9 acres of land in the northwest corner of the park with plans to hire approximately 60 employees.

Although the company has not established a timeline for hiring, MacIntyre added that the company has hired a vice-president of human resources who is putting together a human resources plan.

MacIntyre added that the company is planning to start clearing their property when road construction starts, with a view to starting full production by July, 2019.

“This is fabulous,” MacIntyre said. “We’ve got 60-plus jobs. The team that they’re bringing in, they’re going to be buying houses. That’s more people that are going to be employed in the county. It’s an increase in the tax base, opportunity to sell more lots and increase the tax base with revenue from selling lots.”

David Burton, co-founder of Headland Cultivation Company told The Reporter last April that he has been working full-time with his mother and business partner Ann Wilkie since the fall of 2016 to establish a cultivation facility in Nova Scotia.

Burton reached out to municipalities across the province to find an appropriate site for the project. With the help of the Cape Breton Partnership, he found support from the County of Richmond.

In talking about hundreds of thousands of marijuana plants, a multi-million dollar development project and returns in the tens of millions, Burton expects Headland Cultivation Inc. will have a positive economic impact.