Tougher anti-smoking measures are on their way in Sidney where council meeting as committee-of-the-whole has asked staff to look into declaring downtown Sidney smoking and vaping free (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney’s downtown could be declared a no smoking, no vaping zone

Town council Tuesday asked staff to explore the option

Sidney has taken steps that could turn its downtown core into a no smoking and no vaping zone.

Councillors, meeting as the committee of the whole, asked staff to investigate steps towards such a declaration. If implemented, the measure would go beyond the prohibitions of the region-wide bylaw that the Capital Regional District (CRD) passed in May 2018. While it already prohibits smoking in many parts of downtown, it still allows smoking in some areas, including a large portion of Beacon Avenue when closed to traffic for events, and locations where buildings are more than seven metres from the edge of the sidewalk.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith said the declaration would set a positive precedent for the community and the region at large, a view shared by a majority of council. Coun. Scott Garnett agreed. “We need to do something that is more comprehensive,” he said.

RELATED: $100 fine for public pot smoking starts Oct. 1

Declaring downtown Sidney smoke- and vape-free would require public education and additional signage and Coun. Terri O’Keeffee questioned the additional value of such signage in wondering whether Sidney could enforce the declaration.

Coun. Sara Duncan joined O’Keefee in voting against the measure. She wondered whether the declaration would push downtown employees who smoke into neighbouring residential areas, creating conflict with residents.

Supporters of the proposed declaration acknowledged these arguments but noted the additional signage would be minimal and effective, as McNeil-Smith argued. “If people are aware that our downtown is smoke-free, people are going to observe it,” added Coun. Barbara Fallot.

Coun. Chad Rintoul also pointed out that the enforcement issue is a familiar one, pointing to the existence of the CRD bylaw. The fact that enforcement might be difficult does not render the bylaw useless, he suggested. Council also moved with two other measures designed to stamp out smoking in downtown Sidney. They include the requirement that organizers requesting the closure of Beacon to make their events smoking and vaping free.

While that motion passed unanimously, councillors split over the question of whether to research the costs of installing containers for cigarette butts in time for the 2020 budget. Coun. Peter Wainwright said Sidney can always take the item out of its budget if the other two measures prove effective. But failure to include the item now would prolong the problem of cigarette butts for at least another year, he said.

McNeil-Smith joined Rintoul and O’Keefee in opposition. O’Keefee said the containers come with a cost, including staff time.

“There is a lot on our plate,” she said. “In the scheme of all those other things, I would rather see us go with the other two options.”

Duncan defended the containers, noting they might end up being cheaper than declaring Sidney smoke- and vape-free.

She also injected the debate with a note of caution in arguing that anti-smoking measures can only be so effective in light of human behaviour.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

500 pounds of turkey served at Cool Aid community Christmas dinner

Annual dinner serves hundreds of community members

VIDEO: Annual Tuba Christmas concert draws large crowd to Market Square

Over 100 tuba and euphonium players gathered to play festive tunes

Revisit Christmas past as Point Ellice House displays Victorian-era traditions

Antique bobbles, cards, decor and more are on display

Bold and brassy quintet touches down at UVic

Internationally recognized Canadian Brass performing with Victoria Symphony on Dec. 21

Saanich church kicks off holidays with peaceful Winter Solstice service

St. Luke’s song-filled Christmas services come later

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Most Read