Smokers could soon find Maple Ridge unfriendlier

Council to consider even tougher restrictions from Fraser Health

Smoking three metres from the nearest door to the office, may no longer be enough.

Soon, smokers may have to move farther away, 7.5 metres from any doorway or entrance.

And soon they may not be able to enjoy a smoke along the sidelines while watching minor sports, nor smoke in parks, on trails or beaches – or within 7.5 metres of any public outdoor gathering.

As for puffing away on outdoor patios of restaurants and bars – forget about it. Smoking will not be allowed there either under the new rules proposed by Fraser Health.

The health authority is suggesting the district adopt those tougher rules that exceed the B.C. laws. If council agrees, Maple Ridge will follow several other Lower Mainland cities in the campaign against smoking.

Council forwarded a recent letter from Fraser Health making the request to bylaws for comment, but Mayor Ernie Daykin is leaning in favour of the new regulations.

“Most of our neighbours have already done it.”

Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows just accepted them, he pointed out.

“It’s surprising how much people are looking for these higher standards.”

He said only 16 per cent of the Maple Ridge population smokes.

Daykin pointed out the new rules also came before the previous council, which backed away because they were considered too onerous. The tougher regulations came from a Lower Mainland Local Government Association task force and from Fraser Health in 2008 in an attempt to move beyond regulations introduced by the province.

At that time, the new provincial legislation banned smoking in the workplace, in indoor public places and within three metres of doorways, in addition to advertising and display restrictions, medical health officer Larry Gustafson said in the letter to council.

He said about half of the cities in Fraser Health and Vancouver areas have since put in some or all of the tougher rules.

Feedback so far is that “residents are generally compliant and the bylaws are largely self-enforcing with minimal, if any, impact on overall bylaw enforcement costs.”

Coun. Judy Dueck, who’s health and safety officer with the school district, said she wants to wait until district bylaws staff have written the report. She’d also like to hear from the public.

“I’m personally in favour it. As a non-smoker, I like it.”

Maple Ridge News

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