Smokers continue to puff at Surrey Memorial Hospital and the adjoining cancer agency.

Smokers continue to puff at Surrey Memorial Hospital and the adjoining cancer agency.

City enters fight with hospital smokers

Some cancer patients doubt progress will be made in fight for clean air



A grey haze of cigarette smoke still covers the entrances to Surrey Memorial Hospital and its cancer clinic – despite a new Surrey bylaw prohibiting smoking anywhere on the property.

The bylaw amendment, passed by council on Monday night, carries a $100 fine for people caught smoking anywhere on the hospital property.

However on Tuesday, hospital security was more interested in evicting protesters and media than quelling the smoke.

“It’s nothing more than I’ve seen in the last two-and-a-half years,” said recovering cancer patient Glen Morris of any no-smoking enforcement efforts.

Fraser Health Authority (FHA) initiated a no-smoking policy on its property in 2008, but FHA Medical Officer Helena Swinkels told The Leader Tuesday that enforcement has been an issue.

Security guards can and have been clearing out smokers, but there’s been no way to keep them from coming back – until Surrey passed its bylaw.

Swinkels said it will likely be sometime in early January when Fraser Health begins rolling out its plan of action, which will include enforcement, education and solutions for smoking cessation.

South Surrey’s David Thiele raised the alarm in October that smoking at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Fraser Valley Centre in North Surrey was turning the entranceway into a smoke pit.

Several people, including hospital staff, were smoking outside the building, which is part of Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH) property.

Morris, also a patient at the 13750 96 Ave. cancer facility, has long been fighting to get compliance to FHA rules not to smoke anywhere on the property since May 10, 2010.

On Tuesday, he was standing outside the cancer centre with a sign that read, “Stop smoking at the B.C. Cancer Centre.”

“I don’t have any hope that smoking there is going to stop,” he says.

The bylaw Surrey council passed on Monday night makes smoking outside the clinic unlawful and punishable by a fine of not less than $100 and up to $2,000.

The city previously introduced a bylaw in 2008 banning smoking within 7.5 meters of any door, window, or vent of a building. The new bylaw matches FHA policy and covers the entire property of Surrey Memorial Hospital and the Jim Pattison Outpatient and Surgery Centre, located a few blocks away.

City staff say the plan is to have hospital security personnel attempt to rid public areas of smokers.

On Tuesday, security guards evicted Morris and a Leader photographer from the property.

If security is unsuccessful in getting the smokers to butt out, they – or the public – can now call city bylaw department, and bylaw officers will come and issue tickets.

However, Surrey’s 17 bylaw officers are also stretched thin.

In the first quarter of this year, Surrey bylaw officers had five smoking complaints, which was less than 0.1 per cent of all 5,545 bylaw enforcement actions during that time.

Surrey’s bylaw enforcement manager Jas Rehal said he’s had some calls recently from Fraser Health about smoking issues, but no tickets have been issued as of yet.

“If there’s a lot of complaints, we get involved and we get a look at it,” Rehal said.

Swinkels said patients and visitors should notice a difference starting in January.

@diakiw

 

 

 

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock and Surrey RCMP – along with police forces across the province – have launched their holiday CounterAttack campaigns. (Contributed graphic)
White Rock, Surrey RCMP CounterAttack campaigns underway

Enforcement ramps up to remove impaired drivers from cities’ roadways

Firefighters battle a house fire in Fleetwood on Dec. 2, 2020. (Photos: Shane MacKichan)
One man sent to hospital, two people arrested after Surrey fire

‘This was so frightening to see in person,’ witness posts after blaze at 160th Street and 89th Avenue

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judge finds Surrey RCMP breached two robbery suspects’ Charter rights

This was in connection with the robbery of the Ritecare Pharmacy in Surrey on Oct. 10, 2017

Surrey Hospitals Foundation president and CEO Jane Adams is officially one of “Canada’s Most Powerful CEOs” as one of the winners of the 2020 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award. (Submitted photo: Surrey Hospitals Foundation)
Surrey Hospitals Foundation’s Jane Adams is one of ‘Canada’s Most Powerful CEOs’

Awards recognize 106 ‘outstanding’ who ‘advocate for workforce diversity’

This year’s White Rock RCMP children’s clothing drive was the best yet, organizers say. (Contributed photo)
White Rock RCMP children’s clothing drive ‘best ever’

Month-long annual event wrapped up Dec. 1

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

Most Read