By JOE FRIES
A partially built cannabis production facility in Okanagan Falls didn’t stay dormant for long.
Sunniva Inc. announced Wednesday it had flipped the site, once home to a Weyerhaeuser sawmill, to CannaPharmaRX for $20 million. The sale closes July 5.
Sunniva, which is headed by Tony Holler, who also owns Poplar Grove Winery in Penticton, announced in May it was walking away from the property in order to focus on its operations in California.
The company had, however, invested heavily in ground work at the 46-hectare site to allow for a 759,000-square-foot greenhouse.
Sunniva said previously the facility would produce 100,000 kilograms of cannabis annually and generate 220 jobs.
News of the sale was music to the ears of Ron Obirek, who represents the community as a director on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
“I did know that there were efforts being made (to sell the property), so I was hopeful, and I’m optimistic because the potential is really tremendous for everybody,” he said.
Sunniva, he noted, had permits and “extremely innovative” plans in hand for the site when it changed course, and will now pass them on to Calgary-based CannaPharmaRX.
“If they’re successful, which is the hope, then they will have world-leading odour control, odour-control redundancies, good environmental stewardship and very cost-effective production with robotics built in,” said Mr. Obirek.
CannaPharmaRX, which has another cannabis production facility in Hanover, Ont., didn’t respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Its shares, which trade on an American over-the-counter exchange, closed up $0.62 at $1.88.
Sunniva trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Its shares closed down $0.17 at $3.16.
Joe Fries is a writer and editor at The Penticton Herald. OsoyoosToday and The Herald share an informal editorial use agreement.