Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

West Vancouver looks to tighten outdoor smoking regulations

By Rebecca Aldous – North Shore Outlook

With the District of West Vancouver’s new bylaw, the North Shore is moving towards more stringent smoking bylaws than those introduced by the provincial government in 2009.

The North Shore may soon be butting out more outdoor smoking.

With West Vancouver leading the charge, the districts and city east of the Lions Gate Bridge, along with the help of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, aim to introduce stricter regulations on top of the provincial government’s 2008 outdoor smoking laws.

The new bylaws, which must be approved by the province’s Ministry of Health, would ban smoking on patios, swimming beaches, athletic fields and children’s playgrounds.

They will also further extend B.C.’s three- metre rule for smoking next to building entrances or air ducts to six metres. “I think essentially it will eliminate smoking on outdoor patios at restaurants,” West Vancouver Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones said.“That is the biggest thing that people will notice.”

Sailor Hagar’s Brew Pub owner Brian Riedlinger said his business will be negatively impacted financially by the move.A lot of the pub’s patrons smoke and currently use the outdoor patio. Eliminating that area will force them onto streets and into alleys, which in turn will create more work for his staff, he said.

“We’ll have to start monitoring they don’t take their drinks out there,” Riedlinger said.

Already the provincial regulations mandating smoking three metres from doorways or air ducts are not being complied throughout Greater Vancouver, he said noting the regulation just pushes people further into sideway traffic.

In B.C. less than 20 per cent of the population smokes, reports Perry Kendall, B.C.’s public health officer.

In West Vancouver this number is further reduced to 6 per cent and predicted to diminish as demographic changes occur, stated the district report.

West Vancouver has sent the bylaw to the health minister for approval. Once it returns, the bylaw will be put to a final vote by council, likely in September, said Liz Holitzki, West Vancouver’s manager of permits, inspections and bylaws.

Steve Feenstra, District of North Vancouver assistant chief of fire prevention, said the district is currently working on a new smoking bylaw that could have a far reaching effect.

One major area the bylaw would tackle would be smoking in the district’s parks and forests, he said.

“The fire chief has the ability to enforce a smoking ban any time he sees fit,” Feenstra explained but added the bylaw could outright ban smoking from parks instead.

“We haven’t quite nailed (the ban) down to six months or year round.”

Earlier in June, the DNV Fire Rescue Service reported it had fought 25 wildfires as of June 5. In 2008, district firefighters fought 62 brush or grass fires.

“It’s looking like we’ll be somewhere in the 60 to 80 (brush/grass fire) range,” deputy fire chief Victor Penman told The Outlook in June.

On Monday, City of North Vancouver council asked its staff to look into the possibility of banning smoking in multi-unit dwellings.

The decision followed a presentation by resident Sean Soper, who argued for the ban due to health concerns and fire hazard.

While Soper acknowledged that a smoking ban can be implemented by an individual building, he claimed it is a difficult process particularly if a strata is involved.

“It’s a matter of principal, I don’t think people in the city should be exposed to second-hand smoke,” Soper told The Outlook. “I think the city should try to keep citizens away from known hazards.”

Mayor Darrell Mussatto said staff have been asked to look into whether it would be legal for the city to enact such a bylaw and what options it has.

“Once we know what our legalities are we can have the discussion about what we can do about this,” Mussatto said.

Comments are closed.