Some restaurants and bars in Regina, like O’Hanlons, have already banned smoking on their patios. Next year that may become a bylaw in the Queen City and extend beyond patios.
At their final meeting of the year, city council voted unanimously in favour of holding public consultations early next year to gauge the interest in banning smoking and vaping on patios and municipal properties like parks, stadiums and outdoor concerts.
The consultations will be done early next year with the hope of bringing a report to council in April.
“It’s fair to say that community standards are changing,” Mayor Michael Fougere said.
“I think we owe it to the public to ask the question, what do you want to see in terms of our standards in Regina here, and I think we heard from council as well that they’re open to this discussion, but it’s important we hear from the public and understand what they want as well.”
In addition to the public consultation, city administration will also be drafting a report on the matter based on peer-reviewed studies into the effects of second-hand smoke from both cigarettes and personal vaporizers.
Ward 10 Coun. Jerry Flegel voted in favour of the motion but he voiced concern about the intent of targeting one specific public health concern.
“It’s no different than if we start picking on the people who eat too much and become a burden to healthcare, etc, etc. These people are no different, so why don’t go after them as well, because they impact our lives too,” he said.
“We have to be careful when we isolate smokers, because why aren’t we going after – city wise – drunk drivers?” Flegel asked.
Fougere anticipates that the city will hear many differing opinions over the consultation period, and eventually a decision will be made based on the thoughts of residents.
City manager Chris Holden said it will be a tight turnaround to conduct the consultation process and table a report by April, but it is possible.