British Columbia

Smoking ban approved for Metro Vancouver parks

Smoking will be banned in Metro Vancouver's 12 regional parks starting next year.
People at Wreck Beach oppose a new smoking ban that will include all regional parks, reports the CBC's Deborah Goble 1:49

Smoking will be banned in Metro Vancouver's 12 regional parks starting next year.

The region's board members voted in favour of the ban at a meeting on Friday afternoon. The ban means smoking will be forbidden in regional parks except in designated areas.

Some directors questioned the value of the ban if it won't be enforced. But Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean called on fellow politicians to support it.

"Not only should we look after our own health but I think we have an obligation to all of our fellow citizens, especially as people that legislate in certain areas of the region, and parks has been something we've been mandated to do," he explained.

The Wreck Beach Preservation Society opposed the ban, pointing out dogs, fires, camping, and parking are already forbidden at the beach.

"Cigarette smoking is the last nail in the coffin of perceived freedoms at Wreck Beach and people should have the choice," said the society's Judy Williams.

Park officers will be expected to enforce the ban which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012. The cost is expected to be limited to about $20,000 for signage to inform the public.

Vancouver parks have been under a smoking ban since September 2010. Despite that, many smokers were spotted in English Bay on a sunny Friday afternoon.

The city has issued 39 bylaw tickets since the ban began. The Vancouver Parks Board says it relies more on "voluntary compliance based on education" than actual enforcement.

B.C. already has laws in place banning smoking in any indoor public areas, at bus stops and next to public doorways and windows. Vancouver also has a bylaw prohibiting smoking on outdoor restaurant patios.