Smoke and Vape Free Bylaw Moves Forward
The bylaw was first suggested in August of last year, but since then, the Province has added “vaping” to its smoking regulations making it subject to the same rules and regulations for smoking.
Since the Provincial legislation calls for a buffer of 6 metres from windows, doors and air intakes on buildings, the City has peeled back it’s original plan to put a 9 meter buffer in place. Instead, the City of Prince George will stick with the Provincial legislation and the buffer will be a minimum of 6 metres.
In Prince George, the consultation leading up to the development of the bylaw received 584 responses to a survey. While 70% of those who responded were in favour of the bylaw when it comes to enhancing smoke free zones, that percentage of support dwindled somewhat when it came to adding “vaping” to the smoke free zone.
The City’s bylaw would also ban smoking and vaping from all parks, playgrounds civic facilities and sport fields.
There is a cost to implementing the bylaw as it’s estimated some $68 thousand dollars worth of signs will have to be installed throughout the City. As far as enforcement goes, there won’t be any additional bylaw enforcement staff added. Some research from Ontario suggest communities that have already implemented no smoking/vaping bylaws indicates public education and self regulation were cited as being the most used forms of enforcement.
Council will also be asking the Province to take action to ban smoking or vaping from all restaurant and bar patios, playgrounds parks and beaches. As well, Council is calling on the Province to legislate guidelines for smoking on post secondary campuses.
Council has approved holding a public meeting on the bylaw on December 5th and it will be conducted in the same manner as a rezoning hearing where the public can make submissions.