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Councillors backtrack from strict tobacco smoking rules
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 6:20PM MDT
Councillors changed their mind a day after deciding where Edmontonians would be allowed to smoke tobacco and cannabis.
On Tuesday, they voted 7-6 to prohibit smoking 10 metres within entrances, windows, patios and transit centres, playgrounds and parks with features for kids, sports fields, skate and bicycle parks, outdoor theatres, outdoor pools or water spray parks, and seasonal skating rinks. Off-leash areas, city-owned golf courses and ski hills, and city spaces like Hawrelak Park and Churchill Square were also off limits.
A day later, all but one member of council voted to rescind the bylaw’s extension to tobacco.
“It didn’t quite sit well with me overnight,” Mayor Don Iveson said.
“Council kind of did it very fast yesterday in the 11th hour, so with some sober second though, and with some strong feedback from the public, particularly in our business districts, that this could have some real challenges with enforcement along Jasper Ave. and Whyte Ave., for example.”
The tobacco ban was a concern for the hospitality industry.
“On Whyte Avenue we don't have a lot of space on our sidewalks so 10 metres from a door or window pretty much leaves no option left,” the executive director at the Old Strathcona Business Association, Cherie Klassen, told CTV News.
Iveson also said Wednesday’s decision will give council more time to make the right call.
Councillor Jon Dziadyk was an advocate for looser smoking rules Tuesday and is pleased with the reversal.
“With the rules that were passed yesterday come October 17, you wouldn’t be able to smoke a cigarette while walking down Alberta Avenue or Jasper Avenue, so that’s a concern.”
Council will make a final decision in September.
With files from Nicole Weisberg