The City of Quesnel has moved closer to prohibiting smoking and vaping on busy streets and sidewalks in the downtown core.
At its June 25 meeting, council gave the first three readings of the proposed Smoking Regulation Amendment Bylaw No. 1871 to add busy commercial downtown streets to the areas where smoking and vaping is not allowed.
This new Smoking Regulation Amendment Bylaw will prohibit smoking tobacco and/or cannabis and vaping in certain downtown streets and sidewalks, with a focus on areas where children frequent and people gather. This area includes the 100 to 400 blocks of St. Laurent Avenue, the 100 to 400 blocks of Barlow Avenue and the 200 to 400 blocks of Reid Street.
“The intent of this regulation is to provide Bylaw Enforcement the tools to enforce policies around smoking in close proximity to building entrances; discourage smoking litter on sidewalks in high-tourism areas; and discourage smoking in busy pedestrian areas to eliminate exposure to smoke for persons who do not choose to be exposed,” said Tanya Turner, the City’s director of development services. “The bylaw recognizes that individuals have the right to smoke and encourages those individuals to do so in areas where impacts on the non-smoking public will be minimized.”
In the bylaw, “street” means any highway, roadway, sidewalk, boulevard, place or right of way which the public is ordinarily entitled or may be permitted to use for the passage of vehicles or pedestrians, and this includes a breezeway or a structure (such as a vacant storefront) located on or connected to any of those areas.
Turner says this amendment does not include the back alleys and laneways, except for the breezeway that extends off of Reid Street, which is included.
Coun. Scott Elliott thanked Turner for her work on the bylaw.
“Working downtown, it’s a constant concern that is brought up with me, and it mainly centres around children that are affected by this,” he said. “So it’s really important, and I think it’s more of an information piece for the public. If you do look at Reid Street, for example, most of those areas on Reid Street, you’re not allowed to smoke in anyway.
“You can’t be any closer than six metres from a doorway or an air intake, and the amount of places on Reid where you are legal to smoke at this time are extremely limited. For me, it’s just an information piece, and it’s a safety piece for our kids and the people who don’t want to be affected by vaping or tobacco smoke or cannabis — and it’s meeting the needs of concerns that have been brought up by a number of citizens, so thank you.”
Council will consider final adoption of this proposed bylaw at the next council meeting, scheduled for either July 16 (if required) or July 30.
Once the bylaw has been adopted, the City’s Bylaw Enforcement staff will strategically enforce the new no-smoking/vaping areas by educating the public of this new policy.
Fines are $50 for smoking/vaping in the designated areas of St. Laurent Avenue, Barlow Avenue and Reid Street; and $50 for smoking cannabis in any manner on all publicly-owned land and facilities, including public right of ways.
The smoking regulation bylaw already prohibits smoking and vaping in LeBourdais Park, the West Fraser Timber Park, Spirit Square, the Quesnel Youth Soccer playing fields, playgrounds and play fields, and the Fraser River Foot Bridge, including the entrances.