By Nick Richardson
A report recommending a comprehensive ban of smoking in public areas was presented at Waverley Council’s operations meeting last week, calling on council to restrict public smoking and “improve the health of the community”. The May 6 report builds on Council’s previous efforts to institute a ban on smoking at all of its beaches and outdoor dining areas in the LGA.
Council will now consider a 12 month trial of smoke-free footpaths within the Oxford Street Mall in Bondi Junction and other designated streets in Waverley in a move to assess the feasibility of enforcing the ban across Waverley and gauge community support.
“Smokers caught dropping a lit cigarette may receive a $200 fine for littering or a $60 fine for littering an extinguished butt. Rangers can also fine people smoking in smoke-free areas $110 for disobeying a sign,” said a Waverley Council spokesman.
“Our bans are in place to protect children and residents from passive smoke. Bans are also in place to educate smokers to put their butts in ashtrays and garbage bins to prevent them from being washed into stormwater drains and on to our beaches.”
The objectives of the smoke-free trial will see a concentrated effort to minimise cigarette butt pollution in public places throughout Waverley, improve public amenity and the maintenance of public property, and protect the health and social wellbeing of the community.
The Waverley trial comes in response to complaints about secondhand smoke in the area. Although new state government legislation will come into force in July 2015, further limiting where smokers can light up, the proposed ban in Waverley exceeds state regulations to restrict smoking in public by prohibiting smoking on footpaths and in open air areas where drinks are served.
“Up to now there [were] already strategies in place to restrict smoking in certain public areas, such as cafés and restaurants with outdoor seating,” said Waverley councillor Leon Goltsman.
“The intent of this report is to identify ways [to] prevent people from smoking in nearby areas or when [queuing] up because their smoke still makes its way into non-smoking areas and counteracts existing non-smoking policies.”