Langley City smoking ban issues clouded

A proposal to ban smoking in City greenspace except for spots in the off-leash dog area and the Nicomekl floodplain will get a reworking.

Council turned down the proposed bylaw March 3 and sent it back to staff for clarity. Initially the bylaw called for bans at City public events, and in parks and greenspace but was amended to include smoking spots.

Councillor Dave Hall said people at the dog park say there’s no problem with the current set up. The proposed bylaw would create a designated site at the off-leash park at 206 Street and 44A Avenue. He said instead they suggested spending money on double gates.

Staff recommended against a ban at public events because it would be difficult to enforce.

The bylaw as proposed would cost about $6,500 for some minor landscaping and signage.

Coun. Gayle Martin questioned why the City would spend $5,000 on 55 smoking-related signs.

As well, she questioned the location of the floodplain designated smoking area. The floodplain runs through the City from 196th Street to 208th Street and features public use trails. The site for smokers is at 208th Street.

“Ain’t gonna happen,” she commented. “What bylaw enforcement officer is going to have the time to walk the floodplain looking for people smoking in the floodplain?”

Enforcement would be complaint based.

“We only go out and enforce if we have habitual rule breakers,” explained City legislative services manager Carolyn Mushata.

Coun. Jack Arnold suggested putting the designated smoking site somewhere west of 196th Street (the City’s western boundary).

“What we’re doing is passing a law we have no intention of enforcing,” he noted. “We do this all the time and it’s always bugged me for years.”

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