Sandy Hill co-op votes to go smoke free

A co-op apartment building in Sandy Hill has voted to go entirely smoke free.

Smoking to be banned in individual units and balconies in January

A co-op apartment building in Sandy Hill has voted to go entirely smoke free.

Conservation Co-operative Homes at 140 Mann Ave. voted last week to ban smoking in individual apartments and balconies starting in January. (Google Streetview)

The four-storey apartment complex at 140 Mann Ave. — Conservation Co-operative Homes — will no longer allow smoking inside individual units or on balconies as of January.

Three designated smoking sections will be set up outside the building, about 30 metres away. They'll remain there for a year, after which time the co-op board will consider banning smoking outside as well.

More than 100 people live inside the building's 84 units.

18 of 66 voters voted against

The vote was held last week, and 66 residents showed up. Eighteen of them voted against the move, while 48 voted in favour.

Trevor Haché, a board member and chair of the building's second-hand smoke committee, started working to make the building smoke free not long after his family moved in three years ago.

"At first … we were having the most serious problem with second-hand marijuana smoke coming in, and then as years have progressed and different people have moved out of the building, we've had a lot of second-hand tobacco smoke coming in," Haché said. "And both are dangerous, so we formed a committee."

The committee surveyed residents of the building in October 2010 and discovered there was a lot of support to change the building's rules about smoking.

It took Haché and the committee 2½ years years to work up to last week's vote.

Some residents unsure about change

Tristan Reay, a smoker who lives in the building, said he's worried smokers with mobility issues will have a tough time.

"I smoke out on my balcony, but I see other people in here who have issues with getting outside and I think it's kind of not fair for those people," Reay said. "Especially when it comes to winter."

But Pippa Beck of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association said more and more people are looking for this kind of change.

"Canadians are realizing, I'm protected in the workplace, I'm protected in public places and yet when I go home — and in fact people spend upwards of two-thirds of their time at home — that's where exposure is happening. So we are seeing an upswing in demand for smoke-free homes," Beck said.