Controlled Substance Bylaw
Controlled Substance Nuisance Bylaw, No. 3602 is commonly referred to as the “Grow Operation Bylaw” and deals with any property used for the illegal production of marijuana, mushrooms that are controlled substances, amphetamines or other drugs.
It has two primary focuses:
- To protect future occupants of homes that were used for illegal drug production; and
- To provide for a means to recover some of the costs incurred by these drug production sites.
Bylaw No. 3972
The bylaw makes the property owner responsible for remediation and all costs (including City and policing) related to current or former grow operations on their land. If these costs are not paid by the owner, they can be collected through property taxes and may ultimately result in the tax sale of the property, if required.
What are some signs that a home is being operated as a grow operation?
- Residents only attend the home occasionally for short periods of time.
- Equipment such as large fans, lights, plastic plant containers and soil are carried into the house at odd hours.
- The exterior appearance of the property is untidy.
- Entry is often made into the home using only the garage door to conceal activities.
- Windows are covered to prevent light from entering the home and to conceal activities.
- Bright light can be seen escaping from windows and windows are often covered in condensation.
- Hydro meters are tampered with.
- Sounds of construction and ventilation fans can sometimes be heard.
- Odours outside the home:
- Marijuana – produces a strong skunk-like smell.
- Meth labs – smell like chemicals (including sweet, bitter ammonia or solvent smells or rotten egg smells).
What should I do if I believe a home is being operated as a grow operation?
- Absolutely, DO NOT attempt to enter the property or the home.
- Report your findings to the Coquitlam/Port Coquitlam RCMP Detachment (2986 Guildford Way, Coquitlam) on their non-emergency line 604.945.1550.
- Note in accordance with City Bylaw No. 3602 landlords are required to report the existence of the Grow Operation to the City within 48 hours of discovering its existence.
I rent/lease my property. Does the bylaw apply to me?
Bylaw applies to all property owners, whether they live on the property and in the home, or whether they rent it.
Given the significant costs that property owners could incur if their home is found to have a grow operation in it, residential landlords are encouraged to exercise their rights under the Residential Tenancy Act to inspect a rental home on a monthly basis.
For more information, contact the Residential Tenancy Branch at 604-660-3456 or visit www.rto.gov.bc.ca .
What are the duties of a property owner under this bylaw?
An owner is required to:
- ensure that the provisions of the bylaw are not contravened;
- to report the existence of a grow operation within 48 hours of discovering it;
- to act on any directions or orders by the City Inspectors under the bylaw;
- to pay all associated costs and fines under the bylaw;
- to remediate the property or demolish it; and
- to advise future occupants that the home was used as a grow 0peration.
Does the bylaw apply to all types of properties?
Yes, the bylaw applies to all types of properties if they are found to have a grow operation in them.
What are the possible costs and fines under the bylaw?
The bylaw includes provisions for the charging of costs incurred by the City (directly or indirectly) in relation to the grow operation, as well as for various fines.
All costs are defined as “Service Fees” in the Bylaw defined as follows:
- Service Fees means fees imposed under Section 8.2 and Schedule A in respect of all direct and indirect costs incurred by the City in relation to the inspection, investigation or remediation of a parcel that contains or contained a grow operation, and for removal of a grow operation, materials associated with a grow operation or by-products resulting from a grow operation, and includes:
- administration and overhead associated with the inspection and removal;
- costs incurred for the lawful dismantling, disassembly, removal, clean up, transportation, storage, and disposal of equipment, substances, materials and other paraphernalia associated with such use, trade, business or manufacture;
- costs incurred from the replacement of consumables used, or the replacement of equipment following exposure to contaminants;
- costs incurred for the analysis of the materials found at the property and the health and safety conditions at the property;
- costs incurred in respect of the property under a contract for services for an independent contractor or agent, including without limitation a professional engineer, a consultant, a person to carry out construction or demolition, a health professional, or a hazardous materials professional;
- costs incurred by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the forensic investigation and inspection of the property, securing of the property, accompanying Inspectors on or in the property, or otherwise lawfully attending at the property;
- costs incurred by Port Coquitlam Fire and Rescue Services to inspect the property, take any action under Section 5.2, or respond to a fire caused by:
(i) an alteration made in relation to a grow operation, or
(ii) the manufacture or growth of a controlled substance;
- costs incurred for cleaning, maintaining or repairing the City’s sanitary or storm sewers, water mains, roadways, sidewalks or other City property in relation to impacts of a grow operation
Fines under the Bylaw can be as high as $10,000 per day per offense. Additionally, municipal tickets can be issued for fifteen separate offenses under the Bylaw as laid out in the Ticket Information Utilization Bylaw, 2743, Schedule 20.
Bylaw Enforcement Services Office
Location and Mailing Address
2nd Floor, City Hall, 2580 Shaughnessy Street
Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 2A8
8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)