Fears of a botched robbery, coupled with accusations of secrecy, were top of mind for about 20 Citadel Heights residents as they convened on PoCo council chambers Monday amid fears over a federally licensed marijuana grow operation in their neighbourhood.
The contingent was led by Governor Court residents Keith Harrison and Doug McRae, who argued the city is not taking enough action against the property, leaving many in the neighbourhood living in fear.
"The stink, traffic, danger, fear and hate build up," McRae said.
The address of the grow-op was not disclosed at Monday's meeting.
McRae argued PoCo's executive team and the RCMP have "let the city down," and left the door open for a botched grow-rip - during which a home is mistakenly broken into in search of a grow-op.
"We need you to communicate, focus and take action," he said.
Harrison said he's known everyone on his block since the late 1980s. He also noted two power outages since Christmas that he attributed to the grow-op.
"It ruins the house, and it ruins the neighbourhood," he said.
In an interview Tuesday, PoCo Mayor Greg Moore noted the property is federally licensed to grow marijuana. In fact, Moore said, the city has taken virtually every step in its power to monitor the activities at the home, including sending in its Public Safety Inspection (PSI) Team.
"When we went in, the plants that they have don't exceed the count that they're allowed to have," Moore said.
"All the electrical inspections came back correct. I talked to BC Hydro, who looked at the meter. All the other inspections that we looked at met the building code."
Moore said three licences have been granted at the home - one to the owner, and two to the occupants. He couldn't say exactly how many plants were in the home. He also couldn't say how many properties in the city are licensed to grow marijuana.
"[The federal government tells] no one," he said. "Many, many times, our PSI team has gone in, knocked on the door and they've come out holding their certificate. It's extremely frustrating. I wish we could do more. We weren't really informed in the beginning about the process that this was going to be undertaken."
As for residents' claims the city hasn't properly communicated with them, Moore said that's because the city tries to keep such matters internal until they're dealt with through legal channels.
"We continually keep an eye on the locations that we know of, but we can't disclose everything that we're doing," he said.
"I hope that people can appreciate in government, and especially with community safety issues like this and when investigations are going [on], sometimes this stuff can't be as transparent as we'd all like it [to be]."