Foul fumes will not be tolerated in Mission.
Mission council passed three readings this week to add a definition for offensive odours in its noise regulation bylaw.
The move is aimed at marijuana grow operations that produce offensive odours, which limit the enjoyment of the outdoors for other residents in the neighbourhood. But the bylaw will also apply to other noxious smells, such as garbage containers, restaurant stacks and paint booths.
According to a report from Mission’s director of development services, Mike Younie, a couple of problem sites have been identified, but the district will mostly be relying on residents to document the problem over several weeks and report it.
Coun. Jenny Stevens said each person has a different interpretation of what an offensive odour is and worried the new rule would invite “neighbourhood fights.”
Younie agreed interpretations are personal, but noted action could be taken if three people document the same odour in the same neighbourhood.
“This is almost exclusively because we have so many grow ops venting on a regular basis,” said Mayor Randy Hawes. “We have dozens of residents who say they can’t sit in their backyard and enjoy the summer because of their neighbour’s venting.”
Similar sentiments have been expressed from people in industrial areas too, Hawes added, noting there are filters growers can use to purify the air.
In 2013, there were more than 700 Health Canada licensed marijuana grow operations in Mission, according to the district. Those licenses were supposed to be phased out in favour of large commercial grow ops last April, but that has been held up by a Supreme Court challenge.
The municipal bylaw, which is considered to be a temporary fix until a comprehensive good neighbour bylaw is developed, will not affect any operations on agricultural land.
Younie noted staff will try to work with the odour offenders before issuing a ticket for $500 each day of non-compliance.
Mission council began investigating an anti-odour bylaw in February after Langley Township successfully developed a similar rule.
The first three readings of the bylaw was passed unanimously, but council will have to formally adopt it at a later date.