Onus on property owners to report grow-ops 

A new bylaw, brought forward by Whistler’s fire chief, is aimed at cracking down on grow-ops and drugs labs in homes.

The property nuisance bylaw requires property owners to thoroughly inspect their properties at least once every six months.

If they find a grow-op or a controlled substance manufacturing lab, they must notify the municipality and the RCMP within 24 hours.

“We’re asking that owners take an active role in making sure that their properties are being used legally and by law abiding citizens,” said Chief Rob Whitton.

“Ultimately an owner of a property is responsible for what takes place on their property.”

If any fire service equipment is damaged in a fire due to a grow-op or other drug lab, the owner will be responsible for the cost of the equipment as well as cleaning up the property.

The change is intended to provide a safer environment for neighbours and the first responders to fires.

The bylaw also ensures that any future owners of a property are aware that a grow-op or other drug lab has once operated on the premises.

Council unanimously supported the direction of the bylaw.


Fire Chief, inspector honoured by council


Fire Chief Rob Whitton and Fire Fighter Inspector Keith Mellor have been honoured for 20 years of service to their profession.

“That really is a remarkable demonstration of commitment to the community,” said Mayor Ken Melamed as he presented both men with medals and plaques at Monday’s council meeting.

The award goes not just to those firefighters who have served for 20 years but who have also made additions and improvements to the fire service during their career.

Mellor has spent his 20 years in service at the Whistler Fire Department. Chief Whitton has been with the local department for the past five years.


No support in Whistler for term extension


Whistler council will not be joining its colleagues elsewhere in the province in supporting an extension of its term in office from three to four years.

Council voted on the issue at Monday’s meeting at the request of Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

The issue was first brought up at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention last year when it was defeated. This year, however, when the resolution was brought up again, municipal leaders narrowly voted in favour of the term extension.

Proponents argued the change would save taxpayers money and provide more stability in local government.

Wilhelm-Morden had a number of reasons for voting against the resolution. In particular, she said the four-year term effectively ensures that youngish women, who may be considering having a family, would have to think long and hard about a commitment that extends over four years.

She spoke from personal experience. During her first term on council in the early ’80s, Wilhelm-Morden became pregnant with her first child. At that time, members of council served for just two years at a time.

Councillor Bob Lorriman also commented on how the length of time could dissuade people from running.

Council voted unanimously to send a letter to the province outlining its opposition to four-year terms.


Municipality to look for seasonal housing solutions


Municipal staff is joining the business community in brainstorming ways to solve the seasonal housing crisis.

At the request of Councillor Gord McKeever, council has directed staff to explore creative solutions that would allow Whistler to resolve its medium term housing shortfall.

“We can’t build our way out of this,” said the councillor, who is also chair of the Whistler Housing Authority board of directors.

The request comes just weeks after a meeting organized by the Chamber of Commerce galvanized local business to brainstorm for solutions.

The seasonal housing crunch is expected to get worse every winter leading up to the 2010 Winter Games.


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