The last Pitt Meadows council took steps to ban smoking from more public places in the city, and the next council will consider whether to extend the prohibition to sidewalks and roads.
At their last meeting on Oct. 16, right before the municipal election on Oct. 20, council updated its smoking bylaw. Cannabis became legal the next day.
Council approved prohibitions on all smoking – whether it be tobacco, cannabis, e-cigarettes, vaping and smoking other non-tobacco products
• in city parks, trails and on dikes.
• within 10 meters of transit shelters and stops;
• within 10 m of parks including playing fields, sports fields and courts and playgrounds;
• on city streets during outdoor public events;
• in places of assembly; and
• at any business where the public is admitted generally or as members of an organization or club.
Mayor elect Bill Dingwall noted the bylaw will need to be approved by the new council, and it could still be subject to changes.
Mike Stark, who did not run for re-election, asked that staff bring back a report about the possibility of banning smoking on sidewalks and city streets. This was to address renters who are not allowed to smoke in rental units, so they smoke cannabis on city rights of way, in front of other people’s houses, he said.
As council considered all the places where smoking should be banned, Mayor John Becker joked that it would be easier to say where it would be permitted.
“Perhaps we should note where it should be allowed,” said Becker, “about a five-foot circle somewhere in the middle of the Lougheed Highway during rush hour traffic.”
Coun. Tracy Miyashita expressed concerns about the city’s ability to enforce the new restrictions, saying it may need to hire more bylaws officers during the budget process. She supported the probihibitions
The City’s Tobacco Sales and Smoking in Public Places Bylaw was adopted in 2008, in response to provincial legislation which banned smoking in public places province-wide and within 3 m of public and workplace doorways, windows and air intakes. The city bylaw exceeded the provincial requirement by requiring a 7.5 m buffer.
On Oct. 5 the province announced a new Cannabis Control and Licensing Act that prohibited smoking or vaping cannabis in indoor public places, on sidewalks adjacent to schools, in regional and provincial parks and other areas.
Pitt Meadows city staff will prepare the new bylaw amendments and bring them back before council.
The bylaw will also smoking for aboriginal ceremonies, and ban businesses for smoking, such as a hookah lounge.