Smokers may soon have to butt out in City of Trail public parks.
While Trail council is still floating around the idea of prohibition versus designated smoking areas, by summer the city may have its first regulating smoking bylaw in place at sports fields, playgrounds and beaches.
Coun. Lisa Pasin brought the initiative forward following email correspondence to the city, requesting Trail take proactive steps to promote healthy living, including advancements in smoking bylaws.
“As a result, I queried city staff on the status of our compliance and bylaws,” she explained. “Upon my query, staff took a very proactive approach to put together a briefing note for council to consider revision of this bylaw.”
Following a parks and recreation report about smoking bylaws in like-sized B.C. communities, council members weighed options during the Monday GOC (governance and operations committee) meeting.
“Our city is not alone in moving forward with amendment to this bylaw,” Pasin said, referring to the current restriction, which prohibits smoking within three metres of a building.
“Greening cities through energy use management and decreasing emissions, and promoting healthy environments, including providing sustainable agriculture and smoke free environments, are just some ways other municipalities are working toward healthier living for their community members.”
Though Trail’s politicians are seeking a middle ground, meaning smoking regulations instead of an outright ban, questions about enforcement, community awareness and signage costs were brought to the GOC table.
Coun. Robert Cacchioni pointed out the bylaw could cause friction between smokers and non smokers in enforced areas, would be difficult to enforce, and presently no provision (fine) exists for those times a bylaw enforcement catches a person lighting up.
Mayor Mike Martin suggested the city first target the most impacted area, like Gyro Park, and use the outcome as a learning curve before carrying smoking regulations to other outdoor venues.
A piecemeal approach would create confusion, countered Coun. Lisa Pasin.
“If you are going to do a park, then why not do all the parks,” she reasoned. “So the first messaging coming out of this, is this is a designation for all parks. Doing this one by one could get sloppy and doesn’t create the strong message to your municipality of what the parameters are.”
In the end, council agreed to suspend a final directive, pending further investigation with staff.
“I would like to see a balanced bylaw adopted so that smokers are afforded their right to choose to smoke,” Pasin told the Trail Times. “But citizens who choose to not smoke and also choose to attend public places and spaces, such as our beautiful parks and the Trail Memorial Centre, are not unduly subjected to the harmful effects of second hand smoke.”
In her GOC report. Trisha Davison, Trail parks and recreation director, spelled out “Smoke and Vape Free Outdoor Bylaw” restrictions in other B.C. communities.
She lists smoking regulation bylaws in 68 municipalities from Metro Vancouver to the Village of Nakusp.
Of those, 32 have smoking controls in playgrounds, specific parks and specific locations in parks. The other 36 are identified as having processes in place to start the discussion of having smoke free outdoor spaces in their communities.
One of the latter, is the City of Rossland.
Mayor Kathy Moore confirmed Rossland council has discussed banning smoking in public parks, and a draft bylaw is coming back to the table later this spring.