Local realtors are lobbying the provincial government to establish a public registry for all homes and properties that are found to have been used as drug production sites.
"A drug production site registry is a classic example of good use of public authority – to provide standardized information that enables citizens to make informed judgments," said Claude Davis, chair of the Grow-Ops Task Force of the Manitoba Real Estate Association.
"We are grateful Premier Selinger has expressed willingness to pursue this issue because it fits with the government’s theme of protecting Manitobans’ most valuable assets," Davis added. "We are ready to help move this forward."
The MREA said sophisticated indoor drug production sites are found weekly in Manitoba.
It noted things like marijuana growing operations and synthetic drug labs can make a property a health or safety hazard due to the presence of mould, toxic residues, and gases. Some homes have undergone dangerous structural, wiring and/or mechanical changes.
Although the RCMP and local police already collect information on properties where drug production activity is discovered, the MREA said details are scattered in various files and databases and not fully accessible to the public in a clear, up-to-date way.
And while realtors are required to disclose when a property has been a former drug production site, without accurate and timely information, doing so is not always possible, it added.
The association said it sent a letter to Selinger and five fellow cabinet ministers on April 25 asking for a meeting to discuss a two-step initiative:
- Create a central registry where all police forces in the province would list properties found to be at-risk as drug production sites.
- Establish clear remediation standards for all identified properties.
It said a number of other provinces, including the other three western provinces and Ontario, are also considering establishing similar registries.