BY HANNAH KING
In June, council directed staff to launch a public input process to gauge support for a smoking ban bylaw within all properties managed by the City of Nanaimo.
If implemented, the scope of this bylaw could include all city-managed parks, plazas, trails, playgrounds, sports fields and beaches.
It is understood that designated smoking areas may be needed to accommodate public and private rental events at facilities such as Beban Park Social Centre and arenas.
The idea of a bylaw of this kind was put forward by council and supported by the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.
A survey is available through the city’s website www.nanaimo.ca and at the front counters of city recreation centres. The survey will be available until Sept. 2 and results will be presented to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.
The commission will then decide whether or not to recommend council move ahead with the creation of a smoking ban bylaw. If supported by council, the bylaw could take effect as early as this fall.
As of the end of July, just over 400 people had completed the survey. At this point the concept of the bylaw is drawing support by 74.9 per cent.
Almost all of the respondents (93.4 per cent) support the idea of banning smoking in playground areas though there is some concern being expressed on how the bylaw, if passed, would be enforced.
If adopted, the implementation process of the bylaw will include a public awareness phase which would focus on communicating the existence of the new policy to the public.
In the cases of non-compliant visitors, they will be addressed by bylaw officers if necessary.
If you have questions about the survey, please contact 250-756-5200.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your input on this important issue.
Hannah King is a marketing and communication specialist with Nanaimo parks, recreation and culture.