Council to contemplate ban on smoking in city parks
A Castlegar city councillor is contending that changing social mores and attitudes around smoking are helping to pave the way for a potential new bylaw banning smoking in all city parks.
Councillor Florio Vassilakakis said he thinks there is an appetite for this kind of bylaw.
“If you had asked me 20 or 25 years ago, I would have said people have no appetite for this,” Vassilakakis said. “It’s become the norm now. Eighty-five per cent of British Columbians don’t smoke – and when you look at it, many smokers support this kind of healthy communities initiative.”
Vassilakakis presented the idea to council at its regular meeting April 18, via a report written by director of Development Services Phil Markin.
“In one study, bylaws were supported by both non-smokers (93%) and smokers (71 %), and increased among smokers after the bylaw was implemented,” the report read, also indicating that staff is losing time cleaning up a plethora of cigarette butts in city parks, that discarded cigarette material can lead to fires in parks, and that toxins released by discarded smoking materials can impact soil and water quality, impacting plant and animal life in the parks.
“Our contractors were cleaning up cigarette butts from sand that people are walking on, and our kids are playing in,” Vassilakakis said. “The idea that there’s no such thing as secondhand smoke outdoors just isn’t true – if we can smell it, it means we’re breathing it in.”
He said they are consider options such as ashtrays at every entrance to make it easier for smokers to comply.
The bylaw, he said, will be primarily enforced via public education (such as signage) and complaint-driven.
Council voted unanimously to direct city staff to draft a bylaw banning smoking in all city parks.