Members of the community were invited to vote for or against the sale of the former school for the purpose of a grow op last week. The ballots were counted and slightly more people were in support of the sale, with 45 in favour and 39 opposed. One ballot was spoiled. “It’s certainly not a majority,” admitted Mayor Barry Manz, whose son Rick would like to purchase the vacant building and property for the operation. “We’re still looking at it even though there was a number of people against it. We’re looking at it from the economic end of it that there should be money for the sale of the building and property and tax money and jobs.” Council decided it will go through with the sale if Rick is able to obtain a license from the federal government. The village has had the six-acre property and 20,000-square-foot building for sale for over three years, listed at around $185,000. Rick’s lawyer will be sending an offer to council, but the mayor said it will all hinge on a green light from the government. “It’ll be a month or maybe longer than that, depending on how long it takes him to get his plan together and get some investors that’ll back him so he can proceed,” Barry explained. According to the mayor, no one stood up and said they were against the grow op at either of the recent public meetings to discuss the proposal. “We decided to give it a try, because if we don’t try we’ll never know if it would’ve been possible to do. Secondly, the more word that gets around, there might be other people that are interested and say, ‘Hey this isn’t a bad idea,’” Barry stated, noting other communities may have vacant schools or rinks they are looking to sell and put to use again. “We’ve just been trying to get in on the ground floor.” Barry has spoken with the Village of Milden, where it is at a similar point in the sale of its school for a medical marijuana operation. They too are awaiting word on a license. A decreasing tax base is a concern for Richmound. “Our tax base last year was just under $90,000, and it’s not getting bigger,” Barry said, adding aging and deteriorating infrastructure is a problem in Richmound just as it is in every community. A housing boom a few years ago resulted in the village teaming up with the RM to service six new lots. However, interest waned and none of the lots have sold. To become a licensed grower, Rick must send an application to the Canadian government for review and screening of all the individuals who will be involved. If that stage is passed, Ottawa will look at his proposal, reviewing the building itself, the security that will be in place, and the location. He must submit information on security measures such as fencing, cameras and other implementations. If this is approved, Rick will complete renovations as required. An inspection is then done, after which he will receive a license if the facility is in compliance. Council expects to know within two months if a license is possible and the sale can proceed.