New policy could mean changes to remediation and disclosure
The Alberta government has accepted 37 recommendations which could mean large scale changes to the way the province deals with grow-ops.
The recommendations, which are the result of a consultation with key stakeholders from the housing industry as well as an expert panel that included members of the Calgary Police Service and Alberta Health Services address concerns about the health, safety and remediation of former marijuana grow-operations.
“Marijuana grow-ops pose real dangers to our communities. Alberta is leading the way to ensure health and safety in our neighbourhoods and help protect our communities,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis.
Providing further clarification around what it means for a property to be remediated — which the report defines as “safe to rebuild, including removing all toxic elements from the property” — the report recommended instituting a standardized inspection and remediation process, which would be made available to the public.
Notification and disclosure — particularly key issues for Alberta homebuyers — were also discussed, with stakeholders recommending real estate agents be required, whenever possible, to disclose whether or not a home was formerly used as a grow op.
From 2007 to 2011, there were 662 confirmed grow-operations in Edmonton and Calgary with another 131 found between 2010 and 2011 in rural Alberta. Grow-ops can affect the health and safety of people who live in post-grow-op homes due to a variety of problems ranging from structural damage to respiratory concerns due to mould.
Neighbours and communities can also be affected by the fire and explosion risks of grow-ops that can be as close as next door. Some recommendations, such as increasing marijuana grow-op related information sharing between municipalities and agencies, will be implemented immediately. Other recommendations will move ahead as work with stakeholders is completed, including establishing air testing quality guidelines as part of the grow-op remediation process.
“I am pleased to submit this report on a complex problem facing our province. Grow-ops are a danger to Albertans living in both urban and rural communities,” said Rick Fraser, Associate Minister, Recovery and Reconstruction of High River and Associate Minister, Public Safety.