Smokers beware—lighting up in most of Kelowna’s public spaces will be verboten in a little more than a week.
The no-smoking policy that covers city parks, beaches and recreation spaces will come into effect Feb. 1, putting this city in line with policies in the Regional District of Central Okanagan, West Kelowna and numerous other cities across B.C.
By the estimates of Ian Wilson, the city’s parks manager, it should be a welcomed change in tack for the majority.
“In a 2008 Canadian Cancer Society survey, 75 per cent of the respondents from Kelowna supported regulations to prohibit smoking at beaches, parks and playgrounds,” he said.
While some may be happy the change has come to fruition, don’t expect to see any signs marking no smoking spaces around the city just yet.
During their budget process, city council denied Wilson around $20,000 in funding to mark what areas were smoke-free with shiny new signs.
At that time he thought he’d be able to hit up the Canadian Cancer Society for the cash, but they’ve come up short due their own budgetary restraints.
Offering a “ray of hope” these days is Interior Health, which is contemplating anteing up the needed dough.
“Either way, the bylaw will still roll out on Feb 1, we have several months before beaches and become busy, so I am hopeful we can have it sorted out by then,” he said.
“Initially we will be doing a softer educational push, anyway.”
Although, that’s not to say those who decide to keep smoking, even after they’ve been told to butt out, won’t be faced with a bylaw with some teeth.
“It’s not a requirement that there’s a sign there to enforce the bylaw,” said the city’s Stephen Fleming.
“Making signage makes it easier, because the goal is to get people to comply with the bylaw, not to write tickets.”
That means bylaw officers, when faced with public puffers, will first say “are you aware of the bylaw, please put your cigarette, joint, pipe or cigar out,” explained Fleming.
“If they get caught again, that’s when you get into the different types of options.”
Bylaw officers could issue an offence notice of $100 for those who refuse to comply with the bylaw.