The introduction of Halifax’s new designated smoking areas has already drawn significant criticism and one of the region’s councillors says he was forced to take matters into his own hands — moving the post marking a designated smoking area on Sunday evening.
David Hendsbee, councillor for Preston-Chezzetcook-Eastern Shore, told Global News on Monday that he decided to move the marker at the Porter Lake Bus Terminal after receiving complaints from constituents.
“I got some chatter on Facebook and a phone call asking me why it was put there in such an obvious spot in view of an elementary school,” he said, referring to Porters Lake Elementary, which is across from the terminal.
“I took it upon myself to move it to a location here further away from the school, but also near the bus pad terminal.”
As of 4 p.m. Monday, only nine designated smoking areas showed up on Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)’s online map.
All nine locations are at bus terminals and not a single one is on the peninsula.
Hendsbee says that municipal staff are working to assess complaints that they’ve received about the current locations.
“They’re still a work-in-progress,” he said.
“This one being so close to an elementary school, I’d hope they’d take that into account.”
The limited number of designates smoking areas won’t last for long as the municipality has said received approximately 50 applications from businesses throughout the municipality.
There will be no cap on the number of designated smoking areas.
The municipality is still accepting applications, and businesses are required provide a description of the proposed designated smoking area and a rationale for their request.
The decision to restrict smoking and vaping came in response to the legalization of cannabis, set for Oct. 17.
As a result, Halifax Regional Council voted to amend its existing Nuisance Bylaw to prohibit smoking of any kind on municipal property, except in specially-designated areas. It’s now called the Smoking and Nuisance Bylaw.
The bylaw was scheduled to come into effect on Oct. 1, but was delayed due to logistical issues.