Greenhouse light pollution bylaw approved by Kingsville council
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Kingsville is cracking down on greenhouse operations that emit so-called "light pollution” and odors from cannabis growers.
Kingsville council unanimously passed a bylaw to limit night glow from greenhouses in Kingsville.
"It's a challenge we're all trying to address across the region,” Kingsville mayor Nelson Santos said. “It impacts our community. It impacts our neighbouring communities. We're trying to find a mechanism that deals with the complaints we're getting within the county and even internationally with the calls we're getting from Michigan and Ohio."
The bylaw also deals with odours and it takes effect immediately.
“Ten months have now passed. We’ve seen some enhancements, we’ve got some players here in our municipality that have certainly led the way,” Santos said. “They’ve identified and advocated for other growers to protect the skies and lefts do the right thing for the community.”
Greenhouse operators were pushing to defer the bylaw. Mucci farms, Kingsville's largest operator, spoke to council Monday and requested the deferral.
Bert Mucci says they are compliant for the most part, but asked for more time to consult on the bylaw and also that it be split up to deal with the issues separately.
"We need to take that same path too,” says Mucci. “We all live in the community. I see it every morning when I get up. I'm like, this is not good, this is not good for the community, this is not good for everybody, our kids, everybody that lives here. So we need to take proper measures."
Mucci says in the last three years they have spent nearly $5.5 million putting in curtains, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have faced challenges getting materials from overseas along with getting installers to do the job.
Now, all greenhouses within Kingsville will have to make the investment or risk fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.
Mayor Santos says the town is willing to work with growers which show progress towards compliance.
“We don’t want to be over punitive at the same time, but recognize that if we don’t do something it’ll just be standard fare,” he said. “We lay the charges and see where the courts take us.”
But Mucci sees another problem with the bylaw. It calls for 100 per cent light abatement — which he argues won’t let the crop grow properly.
“One hundred per cent compliance is 100 per cent not doable,” he said. “I can tell you that much. We need to vent, we need to gap at least 10-15 per cent or more, depending on the outside temperature, so there has to be some give and play here.”
Mucci says that’s the resolution he struck for his greenhouse operations in Ohio.
- With files from CTV Windsor's Rich Garton.