Town expands non-smoking bylaw
The town is sending the message that not only is smoking prohibited inside town-owned or leased buildings and vehicles, but you shouldn’t smoke anywhere near the entrances and exits of town buildings.
Council amended the bylaw prohibiting smoking last Thursday so that the “no smoking zone” now extends nine metres (about 30 feet) from any entrance or exit of a town building.
Town bylaw enforcement officer Patrick Briere said Friday the bylaw department is starting off with an “education period” to get the public used to the new rules.
“We’ve just put some temporary signs at the entrances to the Civic Centre this afternoon,” he noted.
“We’re going to go through an education process with staffing and with the public,” Briere explained, adding more signs will be put up at all town buildings.
Briere said the amendment partially was prompted by the number of people smoking outside the doors of the Civic Centre lately because court is being held there while the courthouse hosts the ongoing two-chain hearing.
“And we’re getting some complaints at other entrances, like the Memorial Sports Centre, and people hanging around the entrances of other town buildings,” he added.
“We’re trying to move them along so that when people are coming to our establishments, it’s a little bit smoke-free.”
Violators have been—and will continue to be—fined for breaking the smoking bylaw.
The fine is $300 plus $65 in surcharges and court costs ($365 total).
“People do get fined,” stressed Briere, noting bylaw enforcement is stepped up when a bylaw is changed to make a point that new rules are in effect.
For instance, when smoking was first banned near the arena entrance, bylaw officers would be at evening hockey games to spread the message and, if necessary, issue fines.
Briere noted most Fort Frances and district residents “have been really good” about not smoking too close to the arena’s main entrance, but the problem is mainly with out-of-town visitors who are not familiar with the bylaw.
As mentioned, the amendment applies across the board for all town-owned and leased facilities.
However, smoking has not been banned in open spaces, such as parks.