When Kimberley City Council passed a bylaw last year that effectively eliminated smoking in the Platzl, they acknowledged at the time that it would be a difficult one to enforce. That is proving to be the case.
Council has received a letter from a local restaurant owner about issues around the bylaw. Restaurant staff removed ashtrays they had provided around the entrances for guests who wished to smoke in order to be in compliance with the bylaw. However, now there is no place to put cigarette butts for those who continue to smoke, and the butts are littering the Platzl. While restaurant staff sweep daily, it is an issue. The restaurant wrote to Council suggesting that they be allowed to provide ashtrays or even a designated smoking area in the evenings.
This provoked quite a conversation.
Coun. Darryl Oakley has been a strong proponent of the smoking bylaw since its inception and he says enforcement and education are real issues.
“We need to find a way to communicate how the city intends to enforce that bylaw,” he said. “We have no bylaw officer on weekends or evenings. I don’t agree with establishing a smoking area. Second hand smoke has been proven to be a health hazard. Now is the time to see tickets handed out. I would like the ticketing to be reported to Council.
“We don’t want people avoiding the Platzl because of smoke. We have to make it clear to people how far they have to walk to have a smoke.”
Mayor Don McCormick said that Council was aware from the beginning that the bylaw would be difficult to enforce.
“It is a tough one,” said City CAO Scott Sommerville. “We have a bylaw officer who works 37.5 hours a week enforcing all our bylaws. Enforcing is complaint based and obviously we are not getting many complaints to city hall about this. We don’t patrol on weekends or evenings.”
“These folks are saying people are going to smoke anyway, how about ashtrays so we don’t have to pick up butts?” said Coun. Sandra Roberts. “That seems counter-intuitive to do that.”
McCormick suggested more signage around outdoor patio areas. He believed the majority of people would conform to the bylaw if they were aware of it.
Council agreed that providing more signage was a good step.