By Cindy Filipenko
It’s not the full ban on smoking in public places that councillors David MacKenzie and Jennie Helmer would have liked to see, but the Village of Pemberton has moved towards tougher smoking regulations.
The new policy calls for an amendment to the VOP’s mission statement supported by a discrete signage program designed to encourage people not to smoke in public places and situating outdoor ashtrays to have the least impact on others.
Councillor Helmer asked staff why they were not recommending that Pemberton become a smoke free community, effectively ensuring people only smoked within the confines of their own homes and vehicles. The councilor questioned whether or not enforcement of a ban would be problematic.
“That would be certainly one of the issues,” said Lori Pilon, chief administrative officer for the VOP. “I think (a full ban) would be construed as invasive and paternalistic — instead of educating and asking for voluntary compliance.”
Mayor Jordan Sturdy commented that he too was hesitant in coming across as “too Big Brotherish”, while Councillor Mark Blundell said that he felt the time wasn’t right.
Acknowledging that her position could be perceived as radical, Councillor Helmer pointed out that a complete smoking ban is an ideal.
“We have some discretion to how we enforce bylaws. The intent is to send a message, not hire another 10 bylaw officers and attack people smoking.
“It’s not attractive and it’s not healthy.”
Mayor Sturdy acknowledged that the change was a bit “wimpy”, but committed to re-examining the issue in the fall.