Mar 5, 2013 / 12:00 pm
Smokers will likely be unable to light up at Penticton’s beaches in the future.
City Council, Monday, approved first reading of a bylaw amendment to introduce a ban on smoking on the city’s public beaches.
“I am not an advocate of smoking and we have taken the initial steps after hearing from the community,” said Mayor Dan Ashton.
The next step on the matter will be a public consultation process.
The city decided to take this first step when litter on the beach, including cigarette butts, became an issue last year.
In addition, there is a growing concern about health, with the formation of a new coalition focused on improving health in the South Okanagan to the point where it becomes the healthiest region in British Columbia.
“People are really concerned, with the three main causes of poor health that jump out being poverty, lack of activity, related to obesity and diabetes, and smoking,” said Councillor Garry Litke. “Nineteen percent of people in BC still smoke and the amount spent on healthcare in the province continues to escalate.”
There was much debate on the matter at Monday’s meetings. From how law enforcement will deal with the ban to suggestions of making parks a part of it.
The RCMP would look into specific complaints and there will be an element of self- policing, said Mitch Moroziuk, the city’s director of operations.
When it comes to parks, the decision was reached to just include beaches for now.
Skaha Lake walkway was also added to the no smoking list.
Councillor Wes Hopkin voted against the ban, claiming although it is a filthy addition, it is not illegal to smoke.
“When it comes to public areas, I have a hard time saying we should enforce no smoking,” he said. “We still live in a free country.”
Also under consideration was the fact the city has made sprucing up the west Okanagan Lake waterfront a priority.
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