Smoking bylaw passes second reading

The bylaw does not apply to ceremonial use in relation to aboriginal cultural activity.

The District of Port Hardy is looking to pass its updated smoking bylaw by the beginning of 2018.

At their regular council meeting on Aug. 8, the bylaw was included in the agenda, which states:

“burn” or “burning” means to produce smoke, vapour or other substances that can be inhaled;

“bus stop” means a place on a bus route marked by a sign at which buses stop to pick up and drop off passengers and includes a transit shelter;

“customer service area” means a partially enclosed or unenclosed area, including a balcony, patio, yard or side walk, that is part of or connected to or associated with a business or use in a building or premises that includes the service of food or alcoholic drinks to customers or other persons for consumption on site;

“designated public space” includes but is not limited to public playing fields, public playgrounds, public squares, and outdoor public places where individuals are required to queue for the receipt of any service;

“outdoor workplace” means any outdoor place used in conjunction with the workplace, including but not limited to construction and marine sites as well as sites with flag persons;

“park” means any property owned and dedicated as a park by the District of Port Hardy and including but not limited to public playgrounds, playing fields, beaches, or public trails;

“smoke” or “smoking” means to inhale, exhale, burn, or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, hookah pipe, or other lighted smoking device or electronic smoking device that burns tobacco, weed, or other substance.

No person shall smoke in, at, on or within 6 metres of any of the following:

Any part of a park within the District of Port Hardy;

a bus stop;

a customer service area;

any designated public space; and

any outdoor workplace.

The bylaw, however, does not apply to ceremonial use of tobacco in relation to a traditional aboriginal cultural activity.

Offences under bylaw:

A person who violates or who causes, permits or allows any of the provisions of this bylaw to be violated;

neglects to do or refrains from doing anything required to be done by any provision of this bylaw; or

fails to comply or allows another person to fail to comply, with an order or direction given under any provision of this bylaw, is guilty of an offence against this bylaw, and liable to the penalties imposed.

Every person who commits an offence against this bylaw is punishable on conviction by a fine of not less that ($250) and not more than ($2,000) for each offence. Each day that an offence against this bylaw continues or exists shall be deemed to be a separate offence.

“The recommendation from myself is to give it second reading, given that we are not going to be adopting this bylaw till the end of the year,” said Director of Corporate Services, Heather Nelson-Smith, at the meeting.

She added the district “did get some comments about it on Facebook, as we reached about 4,800 people through our post. We received numerous comments about how a lot of people thought it would have been nice to have this done ahead of time, because smoking in the park during Filomi Days was offensive to a lot of people. However, there were also a lot of comments regarding enforcement, like how we’re going to have people walk around to make sure people aren’t smoking.”

She added the district has also received “some negative feedback about it — how their rights as a smoker are being taken away and that they would smoke no matter what we said.”

“If they break the bylaw, we’ll take their names and pass them along to the appropriate bylaw enforcement officer,” said Coun. Leightan Wishart.

“What were the numbers from the feedback?” asked Coun. Fred Robertson.

“I received one negative comment directly, and we had 14 total comments on Facebook which were all positive,” said Nelson-Smith.

The district is aiming to have third reading of the bylaw done in September, and then officially adopt the bylaw in January.

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