Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Smoking Ban in City of Langley Parks?

Back in 2012, both the City and Township of Langley were looking at banning smoking in municipal parks. Both municipalities wanted to hear feedback from their respective parks committees. In the City, we believed as a committee that while the idea of banning smoking in parks was good, it would be unenforceable. We didn’t support a smoking ban at that time. The Township of Langley also doesn’t prohibiting smoking in parks.

On Monday night, a report was presented to City of Langley council that recommended banning smoking in parks, playgrounds, and transit stops in the City. If approved, the City of Langley would join the District of North Vancouver, Port Moody, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and White Rock in banning smoking in parks.

The report also recommended installing smoking areas in various parks in the City which would cost $1,000. I highly doubt most smoker would actually walk to these smoking pits. No smoking signs would cost an additional $5,500. While $6,500 isn’t a large sum of money, all the money will do is provide a warm, fuzzy feeling to Council that smoking is theoretically banned in parks. The Vancouver Parks Board banned smoking with great fanfare, but people still smoke in parks there.

The City of Langley already bans smoking at transit shelters, but the proposed smoking bylaw would also ban smoking within 3 meters of transit shelters and transit stop poles. Even today, it is hard to enforce the smoking ban at transit shelters; I see people smoking up at shelters nearby my apartment nightly.

One area where I think a smoking ban would be effective is in and around playgrounds. I believe that parents, wanting to protect their children, would be effective in ensure the ban actually happens.

While I understand the point of the proposed smoking bylaw and can support it in principle, I wonder what the point is in creating unenforceable bylaws.

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