The process to prohibit smoking in all city parks, not just Fletcher Park, has moved another step forward. One part of that process may include an opportunity for local creativity.
At city council’s May 13 meeting, council unanimously approved first and second readings of a bylaw to expand the smoking prohibition.
Corey Paiement, the city’s corporate officer, told council he had received input from Trish Hill, tobacco reduction co-ordinator with Interior Health, who made three recommendations: 1) council consider prohibiting smoking in the future on public lands such as city hall, the Shaw Centre, SASCU Recreation Centre and the city public works yard; 2) the city include a prohibition on smoking in future land leases; and 3) the city exempt traditional aboriginal cultural use of tobacco – but not non-ceremonial use – from the prohibition.
Coun. Denise Reimer suggested council send a letter to leaseholders letting them know the city is considering a smoking prohibition for the future. That could include such properties as the southern part of the fall fairgrounds leased to the agricultural association, the Rod & Gun Club property in South Canoe and the Salmon Arm Tennis Club property.
The bylaw also recommends eventually putting up a total of 134 no-smoking signs at the entrance to city parks, at a maximum cost of $150 each.
The parks listed as requiring the most signs are Blackburn with 20, McGuire Lake Park with 12, Little Mountain park and fields with 12 and Turner Creek Trail with 12.
Coun. Alan Harrison suggested that council take $5,000 from its $20,000 council initiatives fund to pay for one-quarter of the signs recommended.
“I think staff could take that number and hit the higher traffic areas in parks.”
Coun. Ken Jamieson suggested the city try some new and innovative signs.
“It might be a great opportunity to enlist some of our local innovators… We can be a bit more creative in ways we advertise and incorporate public art in our landscape.”
Paiement said the standard signs cost less as staff can handle the design.
Coun. Debbie Cannon spoke against changing sign design, noting the additional cost.
“We could look at creativity in other things, but it is a bylaw we’re putting forward. I think we should have uniform signs.”
“If we put it out there, there is usually a time delay. If we miss somebody, we’re in trouble. I think we need to get on with it and do it as economically as possible. I think we should do it as uniformly as possible.”
Coun. Chad Eliason said signs are generally pretty boring and, as there will be no active enforcement of the bylaw, catchy signs could help enforce the message.
Harrison said one of his favourite signs is the one in the skateboard park.
“I’m not one for going out of the box, but I think Councillor Jamieson has a pretty good idea,” Harrison said, adding that he would consider amending his motion to $6,250 for the signs to allow for a local design component. “Maybe the sign could look like a cigarette. I don’t know, I’m not that creative.”
Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said one reason for consistency of signs is for easy replacement if they are stolen or vandalized.
When it came time to vote on the $6,250 for signs and a local design, the motion carried, with Kentel and Cannon opposed.
A public input session will be held at an evening council meeting before third reading and any amendments are considered.