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By Hempology | March 30, 2006

A bylaw to make landlords more accountable for properties used to grow marijuana has netted Delta more than $80,000 over the past two years.

Out of 53 properties issued with non-compliance orders because they had marijuana grow-ops, 41 have met the requirements so they could be safely reoccupied.

That’s a 77 per cent compliance rate.

“It’s not a monetary windfall, but it does ensure that landlords are doing their due diligence in inspecting their properties,” said Delta police’s drug section supervisor, Det./Sgt. Harj Sidhu.

A review done by Delta’s community planning department found police have been able to recoup just over $81,000 over the two-year period for costs associated with executing search warrants, including overtime wages, at grow-ops. It doesn’t cover costs associated with the initial investigation and gathering enough evidence to write a warrant to be approved by a judge.

Approved in February of 2004, the bylaw prohibits any property from remaining or becoming a place to manufacture drugs. With the exception of one, all 53 properties issued with a bill for services in the past 24 months were marijuana grow-ops.

If activities or conditions on a property are found to contravene the bylaw, it’s required the owner or occupant remedy those hazards before it’s allowed to be occupied again.

Indoor grow-ops can cause hazardous situations with gas and propane, electrical bypasses, and damp and mold. Before landlords can rent their places, they have to meet all the necessary building, plumbing, electrical and gas requirements.

Grow-op practitioners often steal electricity, used to hurry the growing cycle, by utilizing an electrical bypass. The practice has been known to cause fires.

Two of the 12 properties in Delta still in non-compliance are in Ladner.

One involved a large marijuana grow-op in a barn in the 5200-block of 34B Avenue last fall. There are several buildings, homes and even businesses on the property, Sidhu noted, but all of them are rented and many associated with them told police they had no idea what was going on at the back of the large barn.

Part of the barn is used to board horses and to run a dog training centre.

“It was a fairly good-sized operation, about 700 to 800 plants,” Sidhu said.

In this instance, the property owner rented the barn to a woman in her mid-20s. Unbeknownst to the owner, she sublet a section of the barn to the individuals involved in the grow-op.

Sidhu believes the owner is trying to recoup some of the costs from the renter before the barn will be approved and brought into compliance.

Sidhu said police are still actively investigating that incident.

The other property in non-compliance in Ladner is in the 5800-block of 60th Avenue.

Of the 53 grow-ops broken down by police in the last two years, just eight were in Tsawwassen or Ladner. The remaining 45 were in industrial areas or in North Delta.

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

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