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Boardwalk will be banning cannabis consumption and cultivation in all its rental properties, including those in Grande Prairie. Boardwalk Rental Communities will be prohibiting cannabis consumption and cultivation for all its properties once legalization occurs nation-wide on Oct. 17.

The rental company currently operates 10 buildings and around 1,000 units in Grande Prairie. Across the province, it has around 22,000 rental units.

“We have thousands and thousands of interactions with our residents over time and try to keep a good idea of what is important to them,” said David McIlveen, director of community development for Boardwalk.

“But on a policy-making endeavour like this, first thing we do is we keep our first priority in mind, which is safety of our residents and our associates. The second priority is the reasonable enjoyment of the homes of our resident members,” McIlveen added.

McIlveen stated that there would be no smoking of cannabis on the property — inside or outside — with the exception of medical cannabis users on a case-by-case basis. He also noted some of the risks associated with cultivating cannabis on these properties.

“Our multifamily buildings were never designed for the cultivation of large plants,” McIlveen said. “The amount of moisture that is required can lead to mould and certainly in some multifamily buildings has in the past.”
Boardwalk is delivering notices to residents explaining the rationale behind the new policy.

McIlveen dismissed the possibility of legal push back against this decision.

“We’re operating within the laws,” he said. “We’re just making policy that will be of benefit to our residents and for their safety.”

Anand Sharma, president of the Canadian Condominium Institute’s northern Alberta chapter, explained that condominium corporations are required to have 75 per cent of tenants in order to ban cannabis consumption or cultivation.

However, Boardwalk doesn’t fall under this rule due to being a rental company. Sharma stated that Boardwalk might only have a duty to accommodate medicinal cannabis.

“They have to be fed into consideration because it could be viewed as a medical right,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that the rental property company or the condo has to upgrade their ventilation system to the tune of millions of dollars to accommodate [medicinal cannabis]. It has to be something reasonable.”

While Boardwalk is prohibiting cannabis smoking, it will allow for tobacco smoking in its units. Sharma called this “unusual” but added that the “feeling around marijuana” was different and that the substance had different effects from tobacco.

Sharma said many landlords would also take steps to prohibit cannabis cultivation due to the risk of mould but would vary on their cannabis consumption policies. He suggested that landlords hire lawyers to help them clarify policies relating to cannabis.

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