Maple Ridge’s old smoking bylaw is going up in smoke and being replaced by a new one that will exceed the B.C. minimum of three metres that smokers must be from doorways and windows.
Council told staff to draft a bylaw and to ensure the distances exceeded the provincial standard, although the exact distances remain to be decided.
At its Monday workshop meeting, staff presented two options for upgrading the bylaw: either follow the provincial standards and require smokers to stay three metres from doors and windows; or, double that distance to six metres.
Setting tougher standards, though, means the district would have to do its own enforcement because Fraser Health only enforces provincial standards.
It also would have to produce its own signs showing the specific distances it has set.
However, the drawback of adopting only the provincial standards means there’s inadequate distance from playing fields and parks.
Under the old bylaw, written in 1997, there were no minimum smoking distances for outdoor smokers. Instead, the law still allowed indoor smoking rooms in restaurants and bars.
As well, smoking was still allowed in gaming centres and casinos, with only 30 per cent of the seating area allotted to non smokers.
Starting with Manitoba and New Brunswick in 2004, Canadian provinces eventually outlawed all smoking in bars and restaurants.
As well, employees were still allowed to smoke in the work place, as long as they were in their own smoking room, sealed off and separately cooled and heated.
According to a staff report, about half the cities in Metro Vancouver, have greater distances, 7.5 metres for Port Moody and Surrey and seven metres for Abbotsford.
Mission, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Langley city, Delta and New Westminster only require three-metre distances.
Pitt Meadows, Richmond and Chilliwack don’t have any anti-smoking bylaw, allowing Fraser Health to enforce the provincial standards.