Abbotsford’s parks are set to become non-smoking zones after council passed the first three readings of a new bylaw Monday.
New rules given the go-ahead by council Monday will ban smoking on all city property, including city parks, and within seven metres of all public buildings. The bylaw also treat vapour products, and marijuana, like cigarettes and other tobacco products.
“It broadens our smoking regulations in public places,” Magda Laljee, the city’s bylaw enforcement manager, told council.
A city report says the bylaw was crafted with the aim of “protecting the public from the harmful health effects of second-hand smoke and promoting a healthy, clean air environment for the community.”
The rules are meant to bring the city’s bylaws in alignment with a new provincial act that came into effect last September.
They are, however, more restrictive, with the provincial rules not banning smoking in outdoor public places.
Council voted unanimously to give the new bylaw three readings, although Mayor Henry Braun and Coun. Kelly Chahal were absent.
The bylaw does not impact private property, and Couns. Les Barkman and Sandy Blue each indicated that they had heard frequent complaints about residents of strata units complaining about neighbours’ smoking habits. Laljee said Fraser Health regulates such premises, and Blue encouraged the public to contact that agency with strata concerns.
Blue also applauded the inclusion of vapour products in the bylaw.
“With everything changing as it has, I don’t think we could imagine how much vape we would be exposed to,” she said. “There’s certainly a lot of people who are concerned that it is smoking.”