Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Lots of fun in Smiths Falls: Tweed in the old Hershey plant

I think it is great to have something going into this huge, empty facility.

  • 40 acres with the huge sewage treatment plant and 500,000 square feet of building

Smiths Falls has been in the
news a lot with drugs, theft, murder (see below), despite it being a beautiful tourist town with the Heritage House museum, Train Museum, Rideau Canal Museum, the 2014 Dominion Tankard. I think it ironic (typical) that the CBC journalist managed to find the four kids in Smith Falls who do not smoke dope, commenting negatively on Tweed's business plan. I think this is a great idea.

I must say I am in favour of Tweed for two reasons.

Marijuana a good drug for some patients

 I've had several clients, on ODSP, facing horrible neuropathic pain. The hydromorphone they are prescribed does not work on this kind of pain. This is what we were told at the Pain Clinic. Most GPs do not seem to know this information. Those in poverty cannot afford Cesamet, the THC pill. THC is the chemical in weed that works for this type of pain. There are many other people who swear by this drug. People with pain from phantom limbs, MS, people undergoing cancer treatment, diabetes, shingles, spine surgery (read more about neuropathic pain here).

There are physicians who are against prescribing weed: they don't know how much to prescribe, and want to be able to control the dosage, with a 3 x's a day type of plan. Really, it is the kind of drug that users can determine when and how much. For those with chronic pain, we know how much they suffer. Morphine use causes many symptoms (e.g., constipation) and can induce tolerance and become innefective. OPP and local police are now trained in identifying those who toke and drive, which would be a concern for many citizens. Physicians must step up.

Unemployment in Smiths Falls, small towns in Ontario is terrible

Nothing good comes from a community in which 40% of the workforce is unemployed.
The factory not only employed 750 workers, but processed gallons of milk from area farmers. Visitors were in the six digit range, all buying souvenirs to take home, contributing to the economy. I know, I had a fabulous mug from that shop, long gone as I broke it.

The problem with the building is that it is so large. Tween only takes up one third of the space.They are looking for other occupants, like a milk processing plant. The equipment is still there.

Keeping people employed is a good thing. In an area rich in excellent farms and farmers, there has always been some work, especially in tourism, but the Hershey factory was an amazing place. We used to take our gr. 6 students during our June field trip days. The kids loved it. We'd haul back to school a ton of yummy chocolate.

Big business gets too much of our tax dollars: Canadian Automotive industry bailout. I think for bang-for-the-buck, introducing small businesses, like the $1 million grant for St. Albert's cheese factory, is just good use of taxpayer dollars. They will employ 110 people in Cornwall at St. Albert's. When people work, are gainfully employed, they produce excellent products, and the economic, social and mental impact is fabulous on a region.

drugs, guns, money

The Current has covered this story

The town of Smiths Falls had a puzzle: what to do when a huge employer - a chocolate factory - left for Mexico. Our Project Money tracks the transition at 1 Hershey Drive from a place where the scent of chocolate once wafted through the town to one where a medicinal marijuana operation is considered an economic cure.
Over the next year (2008), Smiths Falls lost five other big employers.   

Owners of a medical marijuana grow-op, now well-established in a former chocolate factory in Smiths Falls, Ont., hope to spur on further economic development in the small town.

Smiths Falls, Ontario, is a case in point. Chuck Hudson, Community Development Officer, told me that these job losses are caused mainly by the loss of three major employers. Hershey being just one.

Population (2011) 8978 people
English-speaking only = 93%
Median Household Income in 2005 - All census Families: $54,021 (2006)
Median after-tax Household Income in 2005 - All Families: $47,201
Median Monthly payments for rented dwellings: $644 (2006)

The Hershey factory moved production to Mexico in 2008, where cheaper labour will help them make money. Ontarians should be more interested in providing fair wages for work and support local workers who have forged a good life in a small town. We should demand Fair Trade for Canadians. No handouts, but business loans and Transfer Payment Agencies to help workers manage their towns.

Smiths Falls in the bad news category

Smiths Falls in 2008 

Some of the highlights of the Economic Development Office that were discussed were: 
- The Economic Development Plan.
- Their Highest Priority is the reuse of Hershey Plant and the reuse of Rideau Regional Centre
- The office regularly addresses new inquiries for any type of business in Smiths Falls.
- The office continues to act with the Sector Initiatives with the Ontario East Economic
Development Commission.
- Community Development Office represents the Town for all Tourism initiatives. Leading and
assisting with other projects.
- Physician Recruitment
- Hershey and Rideau Regional Centre studies and will be taking a lead role in the Regional
Economic Development Study
- New resident program
- Projects with the Ministry of Economic and Development Trade.
- New Immigrant Portal Program which will help us attract new immigrants who want to relocate to  our area.
- The Community Development Office is working to attract new housing developments to Smiths
Falls. A New brochure has been developed. They are in process of launching an advertising
program to attract new residents to relocate to Smiths Falls.
- The successful Doors Open Smiths Falls was organized by the Community Development Office
and the Community Services office.


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It was just in the paper that Colorado is already raking in tax dollars since they legalized Marijuana last fall. I never remember numbers, but it was a big one!

eileeninmd said...

When I hear the Hershey, I think of Hershey Pennsylvania.. I did not know about this other factory in Ontario..

Linda said...

Very cool! (the Hershey's photo) Thanks so much for your comment on my yesterday's post. Yes, it was a Tranquil Tuesday but I just posted for the Stormy Wednesday. LOL!

Red said...

I heard the interview Sun. morning on Smiths falls and the loss of the Hershey plant and new marijuana facility. I think the reluctance of the medical community to prescribe marijuana is weakening. Younger physicians will change that. I also think that marijuana use and possession should be decriminalized and regulated.