HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Cowichan Police Estimate 600 Area Grow-Ops
Pubdate: Tue, 16 Nov 2004
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004, BC Newspaper Group
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Cowichan cops are barely touching the roots of the Valley's growing 
commercial drug problem.

And they won't until more resources are freed up to tackle the organized 
crime problem, said RCMP Insp. Linton Robinson.

Robinson estimates up to 600 local grow-ops are producing high-potency 
marijuana fetching up to $4,000 a pound in the U.S. "We're lucky if we know 
of 25 per cent of grow-ops," he said.

"We've identified 60 grow-ops in our detachment so far this year but only 
15 have been busted. That's only because of our resources; we just can't 
get around to them all."

Instead, his officers prioritize indoor grow-op busts based on size and 
theft of electricity.

"There was a time when grow-ops probably consisted of two to four lights of 
1,000 watts each," Robinson said.

"Now we're into large grow-ops; we recently took one down in the number of 
50 lamps. That's a substantial size." Protest delays Kuper Island ferry

While travellers to Thetis and Kuper islands early last Monday evening were 
delayed from riding the ferry, the majority were sympathetic with the views 
of the 60 protesters blocking their path.

Kuper and Thetis residents gathered to protest Monday's annual increase in 
ferry fares, citing a poor socio-economic atmosphere for the majority of 
Penelakut First Nations as their reason.

A fare hike increased the three major routes connecting Vancouver Island to 
the mainland by 2.8 per cent and the rest of the routes on average by 4.4 
per cent.

Nearly 95 per cent of the 700 Penelakut living on Kuper Island are unemployed.

"There are no jobs for us on Penelakut," resident August Sylvester said. 
"If they are going to be raising the cost of the ferries they had better be 
raising the amount of welfare."

PM gets pitch for return of foghorns

Former lightkeeper Jim Abram is hopeful the Prime Minister's visit to 
Vancouver on the weekend could mark the return of foghorns to B.C.'s coast.

"Hopefully there will be some good news," said Abram, who once manned the 
light station at Cape Mudge on Quadra Island.

When Prime Minister Paul Martin visited B.C. this weekend, he faced a 
united front from B.C. federal Liberal MPs concerned that their 
constituents are facing safety issues since several coastal foghorns were 
deactivated Sept. 16.

Since 2002, 19 of 20 coastal foghorns have been deactivated, while all 
horns on the East Coast remain in service.

The issue has taken on political urgency since a fishing boat ran aground 
in foggy and rainy conditions on the West Coast of Vancouver Island last 
week southwest of Bamfield near Cape Beale.
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