The new year looks to bring tougher restrictions and hefty fines for smoking in public places in the District of Port Hardy.
Port Hardy council’s updated smoking bylaw officially passed third reading at their last council meeting on Nov. 28, and the bylaw is currently one step away from being officially adopted, which council stated they are aiming to have completed by January of 2018.
Port Hardy’s updated smoking bylaw states:
No person shall smoke in, at, on or within six 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.
“This bylaw will be replacing our current smoking bylaw once it’s passed,” said Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood, who then opened the bylaw up for discussion from council.
“I was just wondering if there’s been any feedback from the community?” asked Coun. Pat Corbett-Labatt.
“Not since the last time I reported,” said Director of Corporate Services Heather Nelson-Smith.
“With regards to this plan, I have some concerns about how this is going to be overseen,” said Coun. Dennis Dugas, who wondered how certain areas of town are going to be effectively regulated via bylaw enforcement officers. “If this is complaint driven by people, it could become an issue.”
“We’re not going to regulate all the open airspace, but we will regulate certain places and make sure people respect the six metre buffer zone for people,” said Nelson-Smith, adding, “We’re not prohibiting smoking altogether in the district of Port Hardy.”