Former drug house ordered cleaned up

Regional District gets no response from Owner in Alberta

This house was used to grow marijuana and needs to be cleaned up.

This house was used to grow marijuana and needs to be cleaned up.

There is no more marijuana being produced at 4153 Eld Road, but that doesn’t mean everything is fine at the Whiskey Creek house.

The abandoned residence  was front and centre at Tuesday night’s Regional District of Nanaimo meeting as directors debated what to do about it.

In a report to directors, building, bylaw and emergency planning services manager Tom Armet said RDN staff inspected the building on Feb. 29 after being notified that the RCMP had dismantled a marijuana growing operation.

He said the building appears to have been used solely for cultivation, with a number of structural, electrical and ventilation modifications made to the interior.

“The extent of the marijuana cultivation was such that environmental contamination would likely be present throughout the building,” Armet said in his report.

Because of this, he added, a Do Not Occupy notice was posted at the entry, prohibiting the use of the building.

The current problem, he said, is that the property owner, who lives in Calgary, has failed to respond to a letter advising him to make arrangements to undertake remediation to the building.

Although the building is currently unoccupied, Armet said it is possible it could be sold to people who don’t know its history.

Responding to the report, the City of Parksville director on the RDN board, Marc Lefebvre, asked if the owner was aware that the property had been used for this illegal purpose, but was told this issue is outside the purview of the RDN and is a question to be addressed by the police.

City of Nanaimo director Jim Kipp chipped in, asking what zoning would be appropriate for grow ops, in light of what he suggested was the inevitability of the legalization of marijuana.

“It’s coming,” he said.

However, RDN chair Joe Stanhope quickly shut down that area of inquiry.

“We’re not there yet,” he said.

Area F director Julian Fell moved that the board declare the building unsafe and call on the owner to undertake remediation of the building within 30 days or the work will be done by the RDN at the owner’s cost. As well, he moved that staff be directed to register a notice of bylaw contravention on the title of the property.

All three resolutions passed.