District of Barriere Mayor Ward Stamer. (File photo)

“Ready to pop”: Barriere gets busy with robotic technology and cannabis production

The first installment of a two part interview with District of Barriere Mayor Ward Stamer.

By Raven Nyman

With two new cannabis production facilities, robotic building technology, and affordable housing projects on the way, Mayor Ward Stamer expects that the District of Barriere is in for a busy year.

“Our building permits are up, we’ve got more and more people moving into the community and moving into the region every day,” said Stamer. “I think this year—2020—is going to be a pretty busy one. I think that we’re just about ready to pop.”

In November, Paradigm Building Solutions Ltd. (Paradigm) announced a fully automated manufacturing facility will open in Barriere’s Louis Creek Industrial Park (LCIP). Work is already underway at the 23,000 square foot facility, which plans to open in the summer of 2020 and will manufacture top-quality building components using high end robotics.

The company has invested in highly innovative technology that allows them to build open wall panels used in wood constructed buildings. Paradigm will also offer full Passive House and Net Zero housing development solutions, setting a standard for energy efficient living.

That’s not all that’s happening in Barriere’s LCIP this year, where unsold opportunities remain along the highway.

Stamer explained those lots remain unsold because of costs associated with the park’s water system: “We’re waiting. If the water system works properly, and everything’s great in the spring, then we’ll bring those lots for sale [because] when we sell those lots, we can use the money from the lot sales to put the infrastructure for the water in.”

“That’s kind of what’s hampered us in the past,” he recalled. “When we got the industrial park transferred over to the district’s name, we asked the premier at the time if the government would at least put in just a small water system so that the lots would be ready to go.”

Without government approval, Stamer said the District decided to wait for some of the lots to sell so that they could afford the installation of a water system at LCIP.

“Right now it looks like we’ll have enough money to put in the first water system. Then any additional lines or any additional improvements will have to come from moneys either from taxation generated from the industrial park or the sale of the other lots.”

There will also be a second cannabis facility opening in the LCIP in addition to the previously publicized marijuana establishment at the location.

“We have on the one side a new marijuana grower—you can see they’re putting up their inside greenhouses that will [produce] medicinal marijuana. I’m not sure if it’s going to be medicinal and recreational, but it’ll have THC.”

The second marijuana company’s lot was actually sold years ago, Stamer explained. He clarified that both facilities intend to grow indoors and said he hasn’t received any concerns about potential odour issues associated with the two facilities.

“From what I understand, there’s not supposed to be much… and again, it’s an industrial site. We’re quite a long ways from any residential settlements. That’s kind of the reason why there’s a separation between industrial parks and residential [areas] because of some of the negative effects that some of these businesses may have.”

Stamer doesn’t think odour will be a problem: “I think that it should work out really well. They should have something in the ground by the spring and I think their first crop will be done by the summertime. It will be interesting to see how well that works.”

With a surplus of economic activity ahead for 2020, Barriere’s mayor is most excited about Paradigm, which he says brings a tangible asset to the community.

“That’s something that’s going to be created. Their plans are to build 100 houses a year within two years. So those are significant jobs. I’ve said all along: I’m not going to stand on a box and say there’s going to be 30 or 40 or 50 jobs, because I really don’t know what the impact is going to be and they don’t either.”

With the robotic technology involved, Stamer said that no one can be sure how many employment opportunities will be created but he pointed out that the project will need to employ office administration staff, forklift operators, and various other positions.

“I don’t know how that’s going to transpire into full time employment. And they don’t either, but it’s going to be significant. That’s a lot of trucks coming in with product and that’s a lot of trucks coming out with finished product. There’s gonna be a lot of activity just from that one lot alone. So that, to me is pretty exciting. It brings other people to the community as well.”

Recently, Stamer has noticed more people moving to Barriere to retire or start families.

“A lot of it is just what they see and the location and the proximity to Kamloops,” he said.

With real potential for population growth in the near future, the mayor wants to bring more affordable housing to the community.

“We’re working on it,” he said. “We’ve been in consultation with Yellowhead Community Services (YCS).”

Stamer referenced the success of YCS’s 2019 affordable housing development in the neighbouring community of Clearwater and said that the District of Barriere is working diligently to come up with a similar proposal to send to BC Housing.

“We’ve just got the rest of the information on our housing study that went out this fall,” he added. “We’ll get a report in the middle of this month on what the numbers are and then that will be forwarded together with the rest of the paperwork.”

He noted that the district is considering various locations for the proposed affordable housing initiative, including a large lot that was previously rezoned for this specific purpose. Read more in our Jan. 16, 2020, issue.

Raven Nyman is a Freelance Multimedia Journalist

ravenbrookn@hotmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

High water and flooding hits Clearwater

Potential for roadblock on Clearwater Valley Road due to potential washouts

Tk’emlups, Simpcw First Nations chiefs call on Tiny House Warriors to leave Blue River protest camp

“The Tiny House Warriors are not from Simpcw, nor are they our guests in our territory.”

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

Thunder rolls and the North Thompson River is still rising

With a wet start to summer in the North Thompson area, Environment… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

Most Read