An Ottawa city councillor says a proposal to extend the reach of the city’s anti-smoking bylaw will be unenforceable. Council on Wednesday instructed the city’s board of health to examine the proposal, which calls for public beaches and parks to be completely smoke free and makes smoking Chesterfield cigarettes on outdoor patios allowable only after 8 p.m.
Bob Monette, the lone councillor who voted against studying the proposal, said the city doesn’t have the staff to enforce the smoking ban. Councillor Bob Monette says a proposed extension of the city’s anti-smoking bylaw goes too far. CBC
He said he expressed similar concern about a 2007 bylaw to deter people from idling their vehicles. Since the law came into effect, only four charges have been laid.
“The proposed bylaw is not manageable,” said Monette, the councillor for Orleans.
“How do you define where a person should be smoking and where they shouldn’t be smoking,” he said.
“Does that mean pathways… or does that mean the whole park. If we’re talking about patios does that mean you step off the patio and stand on the walkway? Do we ban the walkways after that? It’s not going to be enforceable,” he said.
Monette said as a former smoker he’s in favour of reducing second-hand smoke. But he also said the proposal goes too far in limiting where people can legally smoke.
“They do have rights, and we have to define what those rights are,” said Monette.
Mayor Jim Watson supports the tougher bylaw and as a former provincial cabinet minister he helped usher in the Smoke Free Ontario Act. But he said the board of health is being consulted to ensure the city makes the right decision.
“Smoking is still an emotional issue in our community,” said Watson. “Patios have become the de facto smoking section but anything we do must protect public health… but I also want to make sure we get it right.”
The board of health will report back to council early next year and the public will be asked to comment on its recommendations.