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Council adopts smoking ban

Lighting up on any city-owned trail, plaza, park, beach, playground or recreation facility could now cost smokers $150.

Council unanimously passed an amendment to the city's parks bylaw Monday, expanding current no-smoking zones to all recreational properties managed by the city.

In June, city staff launched a public input process to determine residents' appetites for a smoking ban with the support of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission. More than 75 per cent of 608 survey responses indicated strong support for a ban.

The intent of the bylaw is to promote healthier lifestyles in Nanaimo and increase the quality of the environment where people gather for recreation, said Mayor John Ruttan.

"We understand it is going to take some time for the public to get used to this new bylaw," he said. "City staff will be installing and updating signage within our parks over the next few months to help get the work out there."

There will be designated areas for smokers at facilities like the Beban Park Social Centre, Nanaimo Ice Centre and Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.

Along with added signage, the city will undertake an initial public awareness phase to inform residents of the change. Ultimately, bylaw officers will issue tickets for non-compliance.

Municipalities in B.C. have worked to create smoke-free areas in the 1980s, beginning with workplace bans.

Banning smoking at recreational facilities was already implemented by cities such as Vancouver, White Rock, Whistler, Richmond and Kelowna.

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com

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