A smoker outside the Maple Ridge Business Centre on Thursday.

A smoker outside the Maple Ridge Business Centre on Thursday.

Mayor brings back defeated smoking bylaw

Tie vote in March would have extended outside smoking distance to 7.5 metres

Don’t butt out that smoking bylaw yet. Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin wants to take another crack at passing the bylaw by using his powers under the Community Charter.

Under Section 131, the mayor can have council revisit an issue, allowing him to present the bylaw again at this Tuesday’s meeting.

Council, on March 25, defeated the bylaw in a 3-3 vote that would have set the distance smokers can puff from outside doors and windows to 7.5 metres.

That would have exceeded the current three metres set out in the B.C. Tobacco Control Act.

“As a parent and a grandparent, I was very concerned about the message that council sent to the community on March 25, when the new smoking bylaw failed to pass due to a tie vote,” Daykin said in a release Friday.

Daykin said he hopes his council colleagues will realize it’s a health issue and that smoking and second-hand smoking kills.

“That fact is not debateable.”

He added that overwhelming support from the public for the bylaw led him to use Section 131 of the Community Charter to bring the bylaw back to council.

“What I’ve heard, loud and clear, is that the majority of citizens want to breathe clean air around doorways and windows.”

The bylaw will also allow businesses to better police their own premises and help strata complexes tighten their own bylaws.

The public expects council to act and “to be leaders on this issue, not followers.”

The bylaw, which was to replace a 1997 bylaw, would also ban smoking on playgrounds and sports fields.

Couns. Corisa Bell, Michael Morden and Al Hogarth voted against the bylaw at the March 25 meeting, with Couns. Cheryl Ashlie, Bob Masse and the mayor in favour. Coun. Judy Dueck was absent.

Port Moody and Surrey already have bylaws setting the 7.5-metre smoking distance, while Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Delta and New Westminster only require three metres. Richmond and Chilliwack don’t have a smoking bylaw, instead relying entirely on the B.C. law.