It was close but no cigar.
In a vote of three in favour and two against, Trail council officially enacted new rules around smoking in public during the Monday night meeting. In a nutshell, smoking is banned in all city parks, at outdoor special events and at or within six metres of any recreation facility – that includes all tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and any other device that burns or vaporizes tobacco and other substances.
Coun. Lisa Pasin initiated new smoking regulations early in 2015, on the grounds that tighter restrictions would reduce exposure to second hand smoke in city-owned spaces like parks and playgrounds.
Trail councillor Lisa Pasin
Though she was not in attendance Monday night, nor was Coun. Sandy Santori, Pasin did have this to say to the Trail Times prior to the vote for adoption.
“I believe we have a responsibility to ensure our city is as safe as possible for individuals and families,” she said. “Minimizing the deleterious effects of second hand smoke is important for our citizens,” Pasin noted. “This bylaw is an excellent supplement to the continued good work done by the Trail Health and Environment Committee, to ensure the City of Trail is a desirable city to live in.”
Although the bylaw passed with Coun. Kevin Jolly, Coun. Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson and Mayor Mike Martin voting in favour – the two politicians who voted against were first given the opportunity to have a say.
Coun. Robert Cacchioni opposed, questioning the point of having a bylaw and not respective enforcement or fines and said smokers are already responsible and usually go off to the side in public spaces to smoke.
“It’s gone way too far with municipal governments trying to socially engineer the behaviour of their citizens, this is just too far,” he added.
Coun. Carol Dobie said she would not support the bylaw, her issues were twofold.
“I would hate to see a tourist in town at Gyro Park who may get caught and fined … I wonder how that looks as a city, how we are treating our tourists,” she said.
Trail councillor Carol Dobie
Her second concern had to do with another distasteful sight and smell around the city – and that is people who do not pick up after their pooches.
“We also have a bylaw that is supposed to control doggie doo in this town,” Dobie began. “But in my two years I have been on council I have never heard of anybody fined for not cleaning up their doggie doo,” she said. “Somebody smoking a cigarette lasts maybe five minutes at most, but people walk their dogs in this town and doggie doo is everywhere … and it’s there for weeks and weeks before it disintegrates – to me that is a bigger problem in this city as opposed to people smoking in a park.”
Corporate Officer Michelle McIsaac responded that the city worked closely with Interior Health to develop the smoking control bylaw, which is meant to be self-regulating and set a community standard.
A hard stance for enforcement has not been the experience of other municipalities that have already imposed similar restrictions, she clarified.
“What we are doing is imposing a community standard, so-to-speak, and with the installation of signage it is intended to be self-enforcing,” McIsaac said.
“So the individual responsible smokers will see the signage and they will know they must move away from the recreational facility … park or playground. For those who are maybe unaware of the requirement, people who are there enjoying the park space can point to the signage and alert those people who may be smoking contrary to the regulations that they need to move away from the city facility,” she added. “So again, it’s just intended to develop a standard and only at certain facilities, parks and playgrounds. It’s not an overarching restriction from smoking all together but just in places where we generally see families and children gather and recreate.”
McIsaac said there is no current intention for the city to go through the municipal ticketing process that is required to fine people ($100) who do not heed the public smoking restrictions.