Map of Metro Vancouver regional parks

Smoking ban looms for Metro regional parks

Puffing would be permitted in specific zones only

A ban on smoking in regional parks except in designated areas will go to the Metro Vancouver board for a final vote later this month.

The region’s parks committee voted 5-4 Wednesday to proceed with the tougher restrictions on smokers who use Metro-run parks, trails and beaches.

Committee chair Gayle Martin, a Langley City councillor, said the plan would leave it to Metro staff to define permitted smoking zones near where people spend long periods of time – beaches, shelters, reservable buildings and campsites.

“There would be no smoking anywhere in Metro Vancouver parks except for those designated smoking areas,” she said. “If you’re taking a walk on a trail, you will not be able to smoke.”

Martin, a smoker herself, was one of the four directors who opposed the new policy.

She argued a better approach would have been to define specific no-smoking zones to protect people in high-use areas but let smokers puff away everywhere else in Metro parks.

“I’ve never had one complaint about people smoking in regional parks,” Martin said.

Posting signs and other printed information on the policy would cost the region up to $23,000, if the recommendation is adopted by the board Sept. 24.

A Metro staff report estimated only 10 to 15 per cent of park-goers smoke and that most would likely voluntarily comply with the new restrictions without any extra spending on enforcement.

Smoking zones would only be designated where there is little risk of second-hand smoke exposure to others, smoking litter is contained and there is no risk of

fire starts.

Committee members in favour of the partial ban were Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean, Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson, Abbotsford Mayor George Peary, Delta Coun. Scott Hamilton and Langley Township Coun. Mel Kositsky.

The debate came after a presentation from the Canadian Cancer Society, which urged Metro to proceed with a ban.

“A comprehensive ban on tobacco use within regional parks would eliminate exposure of park users to second-hand smoke, protect the park environment from tobacco litter and reduce fire risk as a result of tobacco products,” society campaigner Brittney Parks said in a presentation.

The Wreck Beach Preservation Society opposed the smoking ban and a volunteer coordinator at Pacific Spirit Regional Park urged Metro to put the money to better uses.

The planned policy would also affect other regional parks like Tynehead, Campbell Valley, Lynn Headwaters and Belcarra regional parks, as well as some beaches, such as Centennial Beach at Boundary Bay and Sasamat Lake.

It was the third time in about a year the committee wrestled with the issue.

The committee had voted in June to advance the policy to Metro’s July board meeting, but Martin pulled the item from that agenda and sent it back to staff to gather more details on the costs and logistics.

Several cities across the region either partly or fully ban smoking in their municipal parks.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Surrey BIAs to get cash help from city hall

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum announced this on Monday

‘Loophole’ allows U.S.-Canadian citizens to continue to meet at Peace Arch Park

According to immigration lawyer Len Saunders, there’s nothing the province can do about it

Stayte Road housing project rejected by White Rock council in 4-3 vote

Councillors heed residents’ emphatic opposition voiced at electronic public hearing

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Northbound lane of Coquihalla closed after vehicle incident near Hope

A northbound lane is closed just north of the Great Bear Snowshed, according to DriveBC

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read