Whitehorse’s proposed Controlled Substance Properties Bylaw could hinder other laws designed to deter drug trafficking in Whitehorse, says the Downtown Residents Association.
The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act often relies on landlords sending in tips, association director Roxanne Livingstone told council Monday night.
“If this legislation is passed, landlords will face huge costs and they’ll likely deny, avoid and block anything that could indicate drug sales from their property.
“This would be a step backward for our organization, which has worked so hard to get SCAN here.”
The bylaw was proposed after six residential grow operations were found in Whitehorse in 2005.
Under the city’s proposed bylaw, once anonymous Safer Communities and Neighbourhood investigators evict a person accused of trafficking drugs, the office’s director could choose to contact bylaw officers about the landlord.
Bylaw officers could then have the rental property inspected for health risks, such as mould and chemicals.
Landlords would have to do whatever renovations were ordered to bring their unit up to code before it could be put back on the market.
Landlords would also face fines up to $5,000.
“The Downtown Residents Association is glad the city of Whitehorse is stepping up to bat to be a part of the solution against drug trafficking and health issues caused by it,” said Livingstone.
“But, unfortunately, we cannot support this legislation that would unfairly penalize all landlords as complicit in drug trafficking and damage the work of SCAN, which is working so beautifully.”
Councillor Doug Graham asked Livingstone if she had any suggestions for changes to the proposed bylaw.
“It seems that you want to go against organized crime, and I agree you should penalize them,” said Livingstone.
“But this includes the sale, barter and trade of drugs; the scope of this is too huge.”
Narrowing it down to grow operations and methamphetamine labs, which a landlord should be able to easily detect, would be better, she said.
Last week, council opted to defer voting on the bylaw because of concerns from Graham and councillor Florence Roberts.
The Controlled Substance Properties Bylaw will come up for its third and final reading at next week’s council meeting.