Pubdate: Fri, 27 Apr 2007
Source: Goldstream Gazette (Victoria, CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Goldstream News Gazette
Author: Rudy Haugeneder
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Vancouver Island's chief medical health officer is just as tough on
marijuana grow operations and clandestine drug labs in residential
homes as he is on smoking tobacco in public places.

The municipality is amending its substance control bylaw just before
it becomes law.

Dr. Richard Stanwick, citing various federal health laws which outline
how houses can be devastated by illegal drug operations, urged changes
to the bylaw which had earlier been given third reading -- one reading
short of adoption.

The main wording change he recommended, and which went before council
Monday, said if a building has been used for a grow operation or
clandestine lab purposes, the owner must, within 14 days, "engage a
certified industrial hygienist with experience in mould or
methamphetamine remediation to develop a remediation plan and oversee
profession cleanup of the premise ulitilizing current remediation
guidelines specific to the conditions found.

Stanwick also said all carpets and curtains must be disposed of and
satisfy health authorities "that the building is substantially free of
biological or chemical contamination residuals above typical
residential levels prior to occupancy."

Late last year Colwood council gave third reading on a bylaw aiming to
crack down on household drug labs. The bylaw will allow the
municipality to charge property owners for all emergency service
personnel and cleanup costs linked to marijuana grow-op or meth labs.

It enables municipal fire and inspection officials to revoke occupancy
permits and shut off power and water until the building is free of
drug infrastructure.

The bylaw says property owners must do regular inspections of their
tenant's space, or risk considerable fees if police or bylaw
enforecement officers discover a drug lab.

A single officer dismantling a grow-op can cost $52 per hour, and $500
for each inspection until the property complies with fire and building
codes. Homeowners could have the fees tacked onto their property taxes
if they fail to pay.

Homeowners do have an out if they voluntarily report drug operations
to the municipality. Fees would be waived, but the owner is still
responsible for home repair costs.

Cleaning up a meth lab can run anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000, plus
a $10,000 fine.
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