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

B.C. mom, kids on bike turned away from Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

Saanich mom on a bike turned away in Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

Saanich residents asked for input on Tripp Station Youth Park

Staff are considering a bike park, parkour course, zipline and more

Body found in Central Saanich waste recycling facility deemed non-suspicious

Coroners Service investigating circumstances of death

West Shore RCMP spend four hours searching for roving hikers

RCMP say stay put once you’ve called for help and listen to instructions

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Most Read