Toronto Cannabis Company Nuuvera sets sights on West Saint John

The research and testing lab proposed for Lancaster Avenue office building could create up to 25 jobs.

A Saint John neighbourhood known for its world-famous brewery could also be a hot spot for testing medical cannabis. Toronto-based Nuuvera Corp. is seeking public input on “a research and testing lab for cannabis in west Saint John,” said Rick Turner of Hughes Surveys and Consultants Inc.

Above all, the company will provide surveying and planning services for the proposed lab, which would be used for testing a product.

“It’s an oil-based product used for medical purposes that will be developed on the site,” he said.

The 25,000-square-foot, commercially zoned building used to be the Dominion Supermarket and school board offices. The proposal is to reconstruct the property as a lab for “cannabis testing, extraction, and cannabinoid purification,” according to the company.

The property is home to the tech company T4G. Listed for sale at $1.2 million and is about 900 metres from Moosehead Breweries.

Increase in the job market

Nuuvera describes itself as a “global cannabis and industrial hemp conglomerate … with an active strategy in over 10 countries and a growing portfolio of cultivation, production and sales licenses.”

Its CEO, tech entrepreneur Lorne Abony, has made headlines in New Brunswick as the owner of a $6.9 million mansion in Utopia that has sat on the market for years.

ARA-Avanti Rx Analytics Inc., a subsidiary of Nuuvera Corp., are included on the federal government’s list of 33 laboratories with a dealer’s licence under the narcotic control regulations. They are licensed to conduct “activities,” including testing, with cannabis. In addition, this lab would employ 20 to 25 people.

“They are high-end jobs [for] people with pharmaceutical backgrounds. I know they would certainly be in the high pay-scale range.”

Furthermore, according to its website, Nuuvera Corp. is in the last stage of the Health Canada process to become a licensed producer of cannabis.

Nuuvera sends letter to neighbours

Toronto-based Nuuvera Corp. is seeking public input on "a research and testing lab for cannabis" at 384 Lancaster Ave.
A letter sent last week to residents within 100-metres radius of 384 Lancaster Avenue. via CBC News

Karen Gallant has lived nearby on Havelock Street for 15 years. Last week, she received a letter outlining the plans for the building. This invited her and other neighbours to a public meeting on Jan. 10. Nuuvera Corp. is to review security concerns with having large quantities of cannabis. Karen Gallet says, “she has questions about the pollution.”

“If they test it, does it go out in the air?” she asked. “Is it controlled? I don’t want to smell it.”

But Gallant said new jobs would be good. “I’m an open-minded individual,” she said. “If you look at it from a business perspective, legalizing marijuana in Canada is going to bring money and revenue to everyone — to the government, to everyone.”

“It’s going to create jobs.”

Not a dispensary

oronto-based Nuuvera Corp. is seeking public input on "a research and testing lab for cannabis" at 384 Lancaster Ave. in west Saint John
The T4G building in West Saint John, now proposed for a cannabis testing lab, has also been a grocery store and school board offices.via CBC News

Rick Turner said it’s important for residents to know that people won’t be buying cannabis products on the site.

“It’s not a dispensary, it’s a testing facility,” he said of the proposed lab.

The public meeting is for neighbours within 100 metres of the property. It will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at 384 Lancaster Ave. Also, representatives from Nuuvera will be available to answer questions. Above all, this will give the neighbours an opportunity to ask questions.

“The neighbours are going to have questions about what they’re going to be doing there, what changes there will be to the building, and what changes there will be to the site,” said Turner.

“It’s to get feedback from the neighbours and address questions as best we can.”

Just the beginning

However, Nuuvera Corp. needs approval from the City of Saint John before the plan can proceed.

After seeking public input, the company will make a public presentation to common council on Jan 29. For that reason, the public will have 30 days to provide comments. Hopefully, the council chooses to consider Nuuvera’s request to amend the Municipal Plan.

The meeting on Wednesday is “just scratching the surface” of a “very rigorous, four-month Municipal Plan process,” Turner said.