Smokers may become an endangered species on the downtown streets and public spaces of Rossland if the City approves adoption of a bylaw to prohibit the activity in its downtown core.
A notice of motion has been put forth by councillor Kathy Moore on a bylaw to butt out tobacco use in the downtown streets of Rossland.
Moore wanted Rossland to join the growing list of 30 communities in B.C.—including Vancouver, Victoria and 50 others across Canada—that had banned smoking in public places and downtown streets.
“People say we don’t have a problem here in Rossland because hardly anyone smokes, which is true, which is even more reason to pass a bylaw for it because then we can join those communities that are leaders,” she said.
With Rossland having a pedestrian friendly downtown core and “diverse all-season outdoor recreation opportunities,” the bylaw seemed like a fit, said Trish Hill of the Canadian Cancer Society, during her presentation to council on the prospect of a bylaw.
She said over half of survey respondents in the city favoured a no smoking outdoors bylaw. And support for the bylaw—in communities that instituted one—actually increased after such a bylaw was passed, she added.
A no smoking bylaw doesn’t negatively impact the use of City facilities or people coming into the downtown and into business establishments, Hill explained.
Instead, a smoke-free bylaw is consistent with Rossland’s identity as a safe, healthy, welcoming and environmentally-conscious community.
“It also supports many of the City of Rossland’s current priorities in the Official Community Plan, like reducing natural hazards such as wildfire, protecting the natural environment, ensuring air and water quality, and promoting use of trails and parks to create an active lifestyle year-round,” she said.
She suggested the bylaw would prohibit smoking on all City-managed recreation properties—like trails, parks, plazas and recreational facilities.
Some communities have restricted smoking in customer service areas like bar and restaurant patios, Hill noted. There could be an exemption included for traditional tobacco use.
“(A bylaw) is just better for the next generation, better for our health,” said Moore.
Enforcement would be a complaint driven. No police officer or bylaw officer would be “rushing” out to ticket someone breaking the rule. Hill said if there were people consistently breaking the bylaw then bylaw enforcement would issue a ticket.
“A lot of it will be education,” said Moore.
If it passes first reading at the next council meeting, April 22 (7 p.m.), the proposed next steps would be that the City of Rossland and Interior Health formalize a partnership to “strengthen actions that will further improve the health of the community and reduce chronic disease risk factors.”