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Brand-New Grow-op Bylaw not enforceable

By Hempology | March 2, 2007


An admittedly unenforceable bylaw ostensibly aimed at marijuana grow ops was adopted by North Cowichan council.

Bylaw 3246 – the Nuisance ( Controlled Substance ) Bylaw – requires landlords of residential and commercial sites to do building checks at least once every two months and sparked as much debate as a fresh topic would.

“We have thousands of bylaws that restrict everyday life,” said Mayor Jon Lefebure at Wednesday’s meeting. “If they were all enforced, we’d need an army of bylaw officers, we have one,” he said.

The bylaw was introduced as one that could have an impact on derailing pot growing operations in rental units.

More a preventative bylaw, it would help landlords spot disconnected service meters, stockpiled items that could be used in grow labs or crystal meth operations.

“The RCMP has requested it as a tool and it’s one we want in our tool kit,” said Lefebure.

The mayor said the law would be valuable to landlords who are having troubles with tenants and would allow easier access to the properties by their owners.

“It really provides an avenue for specific cases,” he said.

But some councillors dislike the idea of forcing landlords to visit their properties so often. Councillor David Haywood suggested an amendment that said once every six months would be more reasonable. That amendment was defeated.

Councillor Glen Ridgway said the bylaw could cost landlords money if they have to make an insurance claim against damages to their properties and it’s learned they did not do the required checks.

“It’s certainly something insurance companies could use as a method to say, aEWe’re not going to pay.’”

Lefebure said property owners will just have to accept the bylaw as a part of doing business.

“If there’s a cost to it,” he said, “well, there’s a cost to it.”

Ultimately, the bylaw passed, with only Haywood and Councillor George Seymour voting against it.

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