It appears the designated smoking area coupled with the new city bylaw has helped clamp down on smoking near the entrances at the Art Hauser Centre (AHC). Now, there seems to be a call from the public for such measures elsewhere.
However, the city has no plans to do so.
An unscientific poll on paNOW shows 62 per cent of nearly 600 respondents want to see designated smoking areas set up at the city’s other facilities such as the Steuart and Kinsmen Arenas, where younger people play much of their sport. The poll showed 27 per cent of respondents did not feel it was necessary to have such areas set up. Eleven per cent thought it was a good fit for AHC but not for other venues.
The city confirmed the only cost associated with the designated smoking area at the arena was $150 for the fencing. In an email to paNOW the city said it was “able to re-allocate existing security and janitorial resources they had available on game days in order to monitor the area.”
The city added while the new bylaw provided for the city to designate other smoking areas in future there were no plans at this time.
“Residents will be asked to respect the restricted distances in proximity to facility entrances, Kinsmen Water Park, playgrounds, sports fields and spectator areas,” the email stated.
Recently city council passed a bylaw prohibiting smoking within nine metres of these public areas, but at the time Coun. Ted Zurakowski called it a lost opportunity because youth would still face the potential for walking the proverbial gauntlet of smoke near entrances to other civic facilities.
But Coun. Evert Botha, in whose ward the Steuart Arena is located, said the issue was all about respect.
“This is not something we want to manage or police to the nth degree,“ he said. ”I think this is an exercise in mutual respect for our neighbours and our fellow attendees at any of our facilities.”
He said he noticed the difference in recent months at local facilities and not having to “walk through the purple haze of smoke.”
Coun. Don Cody figured the city should “probably not” have designated smoking areas elsewhere noting they weren’t as concentrated with people as the AHC.
“I think we need to watch it, but I think at this time it’s pretty good as is”, he said.
A new Stats Canada survey shows 22 per cent of teens over 15 years old in Saskatchewan smoke, while the national average is eight per cent and falling.
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