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BC:Langley seeks national standards for fixing grow-op and d

by papapuff » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:04 pm

Langley seeks national standards for fixing grow-op and drug lab homes

But Health Canada says issue better suited to local government and law enforcement

By Liam Britten, CBC News Posted: Dec 16, 2016

The City of Langley says it's time for national standards when it comes to ensuring that houses used as grow operations or drug labs are safe for human habitation.

Councillor Rudy Storteboom put forward the motion, passed last week, to call for federal standards for remediation through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

"This is something that has been a concern for a considerable length of time … it's just been really slow in coming," Storteboom said.

"In Metro Vancouver, there are thousands of properties that are former marijuana grow-ops and clandestine drug labs that aren't being remediated to health and safety standards."

A real estate agent by trade, Storteboom said he advises clients against buying houses that have been used for these purposes.

He said these homes could have problems with mold and mildew; unsafe, jury-rigged wiring, and even supporting walls knocked out for ventilation.

Buyers at risk

Storteboom said he thinks people are at risk of unknowingly buying or renting these homes.

That's because some Lower Mainland homes are purchased sight unseen and home inspections aren't mandatory in the province. As well, there is a lack of any duty to disclose illegal activities in a home by a previous resident.

However, it appears his Storteboom's demand may have an uphill battle with the federal government.

When asked for comment, a Health Canada spokeswoman said there are guidelines for licensed medical marijuana users growing indoors at home.

"Any questions regarding illegal activity such as grow-ops should be directed to local law or municipal enforcement authorities," a statement said.

That doesn't sit well with Storteboom, who said Health Canada should take some responsibility.

"This is Health Canada: it's an unhealthy practise to have an agricultural practise in a residential building," he said. "I think it's terribly irresponsible … it's a national problem, not just municipal."

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities will hold its next annual general meeting in Ottawa in June.
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