FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman has provided notice to City Council that she intends to bring forward a motion on the City adopting an anti-smoking bylaw in reaction to the announcement by the provincial government that smoking recreational cannabis will be permitted anywhere in B.C. that permits tobacco smoking.
The City currently does not have a smoking bylaw in place, and only the provincial rules that prohibit smoking within six metres of a building’s door, open window, or air intake. This despite an effort by then-councillor Dan Davies to have a smoking bylaw adopted four and a half years ago.
In September 2013, Davies put forward a motion to have staff draw up a bylaw banning smoking in parks after hearing the complaints of a resident who complained of a man smoking at a local playground several feet away from a group of children. However, Mayor Ackerman and other councillors expressed concerns about the ability of bylaw officers to enforce the ban, despite Davies claiming the bylaw would raise awareness and rely on peer pressure from residents to be enforced.
Davies’ motion was voted down in favour of the City seeking a grant for an awareness campaign.
However, Ackerman said at Tuesday’s council meeting that she intends to try to resurrect the idea of a bylaw to prohibit smoking in parks and on City-owned properties after hearing complaints from residents during the summer months. She added that the City’s legal team has also recommended the ban ahead of the legalization of recreational pot later this year. However, during last week’s announcement of more provincial regulations of recreational marijuana, Attorney General Mike Farnworth said that smoking and vaping of recreational pot will be banned in areas frequented by children, including community beaches, parks and playgrounds.
The motion will be appearing on the agenda for the next council meeting on February 26th.