What’s your ‘Magic Number”?


What’s your ‘Magic Number”?

Another important maintenance job is to root out tree seedlings or ‘volunteers’ that try to get established at building or shed edges and along fence lines. 

Fence in tree

These areas typically don’t get maintained with the mower so small trees can get established. The longer they are left the harder they can be to get out.

Once they get to the magic number, you may have to get a city permit to remove the ‘tree’. That will cost a few bucks, and in some jurisdictions the neighbour may have acquired the right to veto the removal for aesthetic or privacy reasons.

Here the magic number is 4” in diameter. That may seem large but especially for what are considered the native ‘weed’ trees they get there rather fast.

They are comparatively weak and spindly because they grow being supported by nearby structures or fences.  Because of this they are prone to storm damage and often damage the walls or fence they grew up beside.

So if you own buildings or property it’s wise to know and act before your ‘number’ is up.






Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

A Grow-Op: “The House Is Finished”


A Grow-Op: “The House Is Finished”

 “The House Is Finished” – That quote from the newspaper says it all. Grow-ops do an incredible amount of damage to a home.

Most large metropolitan areas in Canada and the US have from 300, 500 and up to 1000 in some cases, discovered every year. That’s more than one a day!


Headline – “$1 million in pot plants found in Pointe-Claire house. Two arrested.”

Details: Newspaper article

Grow-op plant

This one is in my city. And this house will basically have to be gutted and rebuilt.

I just heard from a neighbour about a home less than a block away that had been used as a warehouse for stolen goods. Once the thieves were arrested and the stuff removed it went back to being a regular house with a family living in it.

But not so for grow-ops. That house is just a structure and a badly damaged one at that. It’ll be a long time before it sees a family living there again.


Here’s the rub. These houses don’t disappear. They get repaired, patched or covered up. Owners often don’t have the money to thoroughly correct and rebuild these structures back into family homes.

Why? In Canada, at least, you cannot get a mortgage for a property that has been used as a grow-op. Not from an A lender (bank), nor B, nor C. Period. Nada. Nope. Not going to happen. At all.

So landlords or investment owners have to have deep pockets to restore these building. Few have the resources, so the cover-up attempts happen.

So if you buy such a home or building and later discover that it has been a grow-op, you’re in trouble. You won’t be able to refinance to do corrective repairs, insurance won’t cover it and your mortgage will be at risk of being rescinded.

Seeking redress from prior owners who will be long gone, or in jail, will be problematic to say the least.

What protection do you have in the buying process?; It’s your building inspector.

You need that inspection to identify what has happened in the house, the kinds of repairs done and why they occurred.

Remember, a properly restored home will be fine. But an improper restoration or a cover-up is something you need to know about.








Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post