Avant Brands’ stink causing mental health issues: residents

Published on September 15, 2023 by David Wylie

Avant Brands facility in Vernon Photo: Google Maps
The smell coming from the Avant Brands cannabis production facility in the 1700 block of Kosmina Road in Vernon is rankling neighbours.

Residents in a Vernon neighbourhood have had to wear masks because of the “obnoxious” smell coming from an Avant Brands cannabis production facility in that community, council heard this week.

Brian Johnson, a resident in the North Okanagan community’s Quail Run neighbourhood, presented a petition to council with 48 signatures from those living in the affected area urging local politicians to use their power to quell the smell.

“They’re more worried about the shareholders than their fellow neighbours or the workers,” Johnson told council.

Avant Brands has not responded to numerous requests for comment through social media.

The 60,000-square-foot cannabis production facility on Kosmina Road was licensed in 2021. Residents in the area have been fighting for years to have the Kelowna-based company do something about the odour.

Johnson says the company was given a warning by the City of Vernon last year, and it got better for a while. However, the smell is back—and stronger than ever, says Johnson.

“It can be very annoying when you have to put up with the smell of skunk day in and day out,” he says.

Residents can’t sit on their deck or work in their gardens, which is contributing to mental health problems, he says, adding some neighbours are becoming shut-ins and others are having breathing problems.

Johnson told councillors Avant Brands, Health Canada, and the City of Vernon have been contacted with very little results.

“Everybody’s passing the buck and this has been going on since the beginning of their operation,” he says. “Everybody’s pointing fingers and nothing’s really happening.”

Vernon Coun. Kari Gares agrees with Johnson.

“It’s a bit of a nuisance,” she says. “It is an obnoxious smell and it does float in and out depending on the time of day. I know the residents in that area are taking the brunt of it.”

Vernon staff will be presenting a report at the next council meeting about what can be done.

Update Sept. 22

Vernon city council’s latest agenda gives this update on Avant Brands:

“Council, at its Regular meeting held on September 11, 2023 received information from the Quail Run Neighbourhood Delegation regarding concerns about ongoing cannabis odour from an indoor cannabis cultivation facility located in the 1700 block of Kosmina Road. Administration will report back on October 10, 2023.”

Avant Brands has not responded to outreach from the oz.