City council sends anti-smoking bylaw back to staff for clarity

Revelstoke city council has asked staff to provide more clarity on several definitions in an anti-smoking bylaw.

Revelstoke city council has asked staff to provide more clarity on several definitions in an anti-smoking bylaw, after concerns were raised at a meeting of council on Tuesday.

Councillor Chris Johnston said he was concerned that council might be over stepping its reach by passing the Clean Air Amendment Bylaw as is.

The bylaw, if passed, would ban smoking inside all public buildings or “within a building open to the public whether by invite or through business operation.”

Johnston questioned what that meant. Did it mean someone wouldn’t be able to smoke inside their office if customers were welcome in, he asked.

“I’m for having people smoking all over the place but I am seeking clarity on it and making sure we’re not sticking our nose in where it shouldn’t be,” he said.

The rest of council seemed to agree with him, and they voted to send the bylaw back to staff for further clarity.

They also asked for clarity on a second part of the bylaw that would ban smoking “inside a motor vehicle or equipment owned or leased by the City, or used for City work or break purposes.”

They asked what that would mean for contractors working for city.

The new bylaw also changes the definition of “smoke” and “smoking from earlier versions to include substances that do not fall under the Tobacco Control Act, including shisha which is smoked in Hookah pipes.

This would essentially make it impossible to open a Hookah Bar in Revelstoke. Hookah’s are water pipes that are common in mid-eastern countries and are becoming more popular in bars throughout North America.

The bylaw would ban smoking inside all public buildings or “within a building open to the public whether by invite or through business operation.”

The bylaw also bans smoking within eight metres of the entrance of any public building, inside any vehicles and equipment owned by the city; near playgrounds, beaches and playing fields; at the cemetery, and during outdoor special events.

The penalty is a fine of up to $200.

The bylaw, first proposed in August 2011, has been moderated from its initial proposal, which sought to prohibit smoking almost everywhere, including on sidewalks. The bylaw is being promoted by the city’s Advisory Committee on Health Care.