Councillors consider extending ban to all city property
Council voted unanimously to institute a smoking ban in all city parks as part of a sweeping new parks policy, replacing several bylaws that have been in place since before amalgamation in 2001. City staff is also being asked to come up with a report on what it would take to extend the ban to all city facilities, inside and out.
Ward 2 Coun. Jacques Barbeau, who originally opposed the ban on the grounds it would be too difficult to enforce, said his opinion has changed. He said he has spoken to many people on the subject and even smokers he talked to support a ban.
Ward 3 Coun. Claude Berthiaume also supported an outright ban instead of other options council considered, such as imposing restrictions on where smokers could light up.
“It’s easier for everyone to follow the bylaw” if it’s a simple ban, he said. “There’s always a small minority (who will break the rules), but I believe the majority of people will follow the bylaw.”
Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis said the ban will put Sudbury at the forefront of anti-smoking laws, as we were a decade ago when the city banned smoking in restaurants and bars.
“This will bring us right back to where we should be,” he said, in terms of having the anti-smoking laws the city needs. “I really feel like this is something we need to do. We like to feel like we’re a healthy community. Now is the time to back that up.”
Ward 9 Coun. Doug Craig said when they banned smoking in most public places 13 years ago, enforcement was a major concern, too. But no longer.
“They don’t smoke in bars anymore,” Craig said. “They don't smoke at Sudbury Arena anymore."
Ward 7 Coun. Dave Kilgour agreed, saying people will get used to it relatively quickly as people around them pressure them to butt out, just as they did 13 years ago.
“Dirty looks was the solution.”
“We’re in good company if we do this,” said Ward 11 Coun. Terry Kett, adding that 50 other cities and towns have done the same thing.
Mayor Marianne Matichuk also supported the ban, saying it’s good for the city in a number of ways.
“Let’s keep our parks beautiful and our city clean,” she says.
When support began to build for an outright ban on smoking on all city property, Ward 6 Coun. André Rivest cautioned against moving too fast, saying they could be creating unforeseen problems.
“Smoking is not illegal,” he said, wondering what would happen at places like Pioneer Manor, where many older smokers live. “The amendment is a bit premature.”
In the end, councillors decided to implement the ban at city parks and ask for a staff report on what extending the ban to other city property would involve.