Tenants of a business park in east Maple Ridge allege the property is home to several illegal marijuana grow operations that have failed to be dismantled despite repeated complaints.
Located at the end of 256th Street, past the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, the Webster’s Corner Business Park backs onto thick forest and is far from homes.
On some days, said a man who owns a unit in the park, the smell of marijuana permeates the entire property.
On Wednesday, the skunky scent of fresh marijuana hung in the air, as corrections officers took a lunch hour walk past the property.
“It’s bothersome,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous. “These are not thriving businesses. They are thriving grow operations. We stare at it every single day. Yeah, I’m afraid.”
He claims a car has been shot at on the property, an incident that went unreported to police, and several of the supposed grow operations have been broken into.
The grow-rips and break-ins have prompted some tenants to stick signs on their back doors indicating there is “no dope here.”
Another owner, who also requested anonymity for fear of intimidation, remains concerned for his safety and the structural damage being done to the units by the pot growers that could eventually affect strata fees. “This is affecting my business,” he said.
“We’ve complained, but nothing ever happens.”
Police, though, have dismantled grow ops on the property before and encourage owners to come forward with information that could lead to busting several more.
On Feb. 22 this year, the Ridge Meadows RCMP executed two search warrants on the complex and seized more than 1,000 plants.
A year earlier, on Feb. 12, 2010, they targeted two different units.
One held two cargo trailers, which contained 500 plants. The other unit held close to 1,000 plants.
Phil Cooper, a strata manager who owns several units in the business park, said district bylaw officials and the fire department are also in the process of conducting inspections in each of the units.
The municipality will be making sure every tenant has a business license for the premise and will be looking for electrical, as well as building infractions.
“I’m going to let fire and bylaws deal with it,” said Cooper, adding that the Webster’s Corner Business Park isn’t the only industrial complex plagued by allegations of grow operations.
He hopes the inspections prompt the pot growers to take their crops elsewhere.