City moving to close smoking ban loopholes

Some residents who noticed loopholes in Red Deer’s smoking bylaw, which allows smoking at outdoor events and playgrounds, are receiving support at City Hall.

Some residents who noticed loopholes in Red Deer’s smoking bylaw, which allows smoking at outdoor events and playgrounds, are receiving support at City Hall.

The city’s Governance and Policy Committee recommended a resolution on Monday, suggesting that the public smoking ban be expanded to select outdoor places, and some public consultation be done. Select outdoor places include where children frequent such as playgrounds and sports fields and outdoor eating areas, farmers’ markets and festivals.

The report is expected to be done over a couple months and then brought to council for consideration.

The committee, which is made of city council, discussed the issue after a number of residents wrote to the city, saying they felt the smoking bylaw wasn’t protecting children enough.

Councillors agreed there were gaps in the bylaw, which currently bans smoking in all indoor public and work places.

Coun. Lynne Mulder said the city should take a stand for children.

People can smoke at the public market, a popular family event held each Saturday in Red Deer.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, lead medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services’ Central Zone, said it supports such a ban in selected outdoor public spaces frequented by children. Besides reducing second-hand smoke, this restriction would reduce the visibility of smoking around youth, Hinshaw said in a July 12 letter to Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

Coun. Chris Stephan solely opposed the resolution because he felt the city wasn’t going far enough.

“Instead of designated places where people can’t smoke, have designated places where people can smoke and have signage,” said Stephan. “Basically, you put an overarching ban on public smoking except for designated places.”

A number of communities are doing this, he said.

Stephan said eventually he can see how people won’t be allowed to smoke in public places at all, except for their homes or private properties.

Frieda McDougall, deputy city clerk for Legislative & Governance Services, said when it comes to public spaces or events like sports fields, the public market or CentreFest street performers festival, signs may have to be posted.

“I’m not sure how you’d bring about that enforcement, so I think those of some of things you would want administration to explore,” said McDougall.

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes supports extending the ban, but not to park space.

“I guess to me it’s going in the direction of an anti-state,” Wyntjes said. “Do we have the resources to enforce it? If you push to far, then people go into secret places and maybe it can cause even more problems like fires.”

McDougall said the City of Edmonton bylaw passed this spring doesn’t address parks. It bans smoking within 10 metres of playgrounds, playing fields, skate parks and spray parks.

Coun. Buck Buchanan agreed there is a gap but wondered how this could be enforced.

“We’re always getting complaints — and the complaint is received, how long is the response time?” said Buchanan.

Coun. Tara Veer said addressing this gap is all about protecting general public health and not passing judgment on those who do smoke.

Second-hand smoke becomes less of an issue outdoors because it naturally filters out, said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

He’s more concerned with how children see adults smoking and think that it’s OK.

Coun. Cindy Jefferies said in a perfect world, people would not smoke at the public market and playgrounds as a common courtesy.

“So I do think it requires a further bylaw,” said Jefferies. “And I understand issues around enforcement. Sometimes it’s a matter of being law and then a member of the public can say, ‘excuse me, this is an area where you’re not allowed to smoke.’”

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

In his 40 years in basketball, nothing Chuck Swirksy has seen compared… Continue reading

Canadian officials say more coronavirus cases expected but risk ‘remains low’

The first Canadian patient diagnosed with coronavirus began showing signs of illness… Continue reading

Quebec police divers find final sunk snowmobile amid search for missing tourists

ST-HENRI-DE-TAILLON, Que. — Divers with Quebec’s provincial police say they have located… Continue reading

Personal spending a party matter, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer declined Saturday to shed any light… Continue reading

Human remains found in burned Alberta hotel after ice thaws enough to permit search

WETASKIWIN, Alta. — Police in Alberta say that after a week of… Continue reading

Country music fans enjoy free concert at Red Deer mall, ahead of ACMA awards

Fans like to get up close and personal and that’s exactly what… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 1 A Jump Rope Competition will be held at the Abbey… Continue reading

Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter killed in crash

A source familiar with the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant says… Continue reading

Ex-NBA star Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five… Continue reading

Canucks, Oilers, Flames primed for mad dash in congested Pacific Division

Matthew Tkachuk doesn’t need to be reminded of the Pacific Division’s razor-thin… Continue reading

Canada’s Drury wins silver and Thompson takes bronze at ski-cross World Cup

IDRE FJALL, Sweden — Toronto’s Kevin Drury won silver in the men’s… Continue reading

Officials track passengers on flight with coronavirus patient

Public health officials were working Sunday to track down some of the… Continue reading

Get coronavirus information from credible sources: public health officials

TORONTO — Even before Canada’s first coronavirus case was announced in Toronto… Continue reading

Deputy prime minister asks Opposition not to delay new NAFTA

OTTAWA — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is asking the Opposition parties… Continue reading

Most Read