City chooses softer approach to stop outdoor smoking in Terrace

Signs are to be placed as opposed to bringing in a new bylaw

City council has endorsed a plan to place signs in public places urging residents not to smoke there instead of bringing in an anti-smoking bylaw.

The first of the signs will be going up in George Little Park and then posted elsewhere.

This policy, crafted by city officials, follows a presentation last year to city council by the Canadian Cancer Society which encouraged council to adopt a smoking ban in parks, trails and other public spaces.

“Rather than introduce a bylaw to prohibit smoking in outdoor places, instead I am proposing we use positive messaging and focus on one particular area, George Little Park, and try that out,” corporate administrator Alisa Thompson told council last night at its regular meeting.

Other communities looked at included Vancouver and Kelowna where smoking is prohibited by law in public parks, Thompson said.

She added that the city’s ability to enforce an anti-smoking bylaw was also considered.

Currently smoking is not permitted around municipal building doorways in Terrace.

A previous Terrace sign campaign to encourage the wearing of bike helmets on city property was originally met with vandalism, said Thompson, however over time there are indications that campaign has worked.

Mayor Dave Pernarowski praised the simpler and more cost effective approach which opted for signs as opposed to bylaws and ticketing.

Councillor Lynne Christiansen said that from her experience as president of the Skeena Valley Farmers Market, a smoking ban worked there.

Signs could be installed in George Little Park as soon as this summer, though there is no definite time.

Policies against smoking do not apply to the ceremonial uses of tobacco, says the memo presented to council.

 

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