Red Deer City council passed its tougher anti-smoking bylaw at this week’s meeting.
Originally introduced two weeks ago, the bylaw bans smoking within 10m of playgrounds, sports fields, spray parks, seasonal skating rinks and skate parks.
At that meeting, Councillor Paul Harris said he felt the bylaw didn’t go far enough and had noted he would like to see it extended to all public events.
This week, he said he wanted to see the bylaw broadened to include a ban on smoking at other events such as parades, public markets and children’s festivals.
Council chose not to make such amendments at this week’s meeting, however.
They opted to pass the original bylaw and consider changes in three month’s time.
Ultimately, Harris said he was pleased the bylaw was now in place and also that its scope could be widened in just a few months. “I’m pleased the bylaw is going through, and I’m pleased we’ve got these three months and a more definitive timeline,” he said.
“My biggest concern two weeks ago was that we didn’t have a set timeline for this to come back,” said Harris. “Because there was no timeline on it, it could have been pushed off as other priorities sat in the way, so it could have always been on the wings.”
Harris said with the suggested amendments, the bylaw would significantly move Red Deer forward in its anti-smoking stance.
“It would make the bylaw the toughest in the province. We’re behind Calgary and Edmonton – we used to be the leader with our smoke-free bylaw, but we’ve gotten behind. This takes us up to the standards of the big cities.
“I’m hopeful that what this does is provides a way to self-enforce and self-police, and I think that’s the key to it. I recognize that there is no number of bylaw officers we could ever put in place that could ever (fully) enforce this, but I do understand that it gives us a moral responsibility to help one another to have a better place in our community. That’s where we can go, really, with this bylaw.”