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Parks, e-cigs added to Delta smoking ban

By Eric MacKenzie

(Postmedia Network file photo)

(Postmedia Network file photo)

Lighting up in Delta parks or on other municipal lands could soon carry a hefty fine as the community is expected to update its smoking bylaw next week.

Delta’s current smoking regulations already prohibit puffing “in any common public area,” but the addition of parks to the ban is part of expanded language bylaw wording that will more clearly define what’s not allowed.

The use of electronic smoking devices will also be outlawed in places where smoking is prohibited.

It’s a policy that is consistent with most other Metro Vancouver municipalities, and Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said updating the bylaw is mostly a matter of “housekeeping.”

But with the specific prohibition of e-cigs and similar products, it also aligns Delta’s regulations with the times.

“It’s just a little more encompassing with new technology and it’s a catch-up from the (existing) bylaw,” said Jackson.

Breaking the bylaw will incur a $200 fine.

Delta’s director of parks, recreation and culture will have the authority to set up designated smoking areas in parks, but Jackson said she does not expect the municipality to be “going down that route.”

The mayor noted that the issue of individuals smoking in parks came to council’s attention during 2015’s dry summer that led to high risk of wildfires across the Lower Mainland. Delta wound up closing some parks altogether last year when the fire danger rating reached “extreme.”

“We all want to make sure that the safety aspect of it (is addressed,) and then there’s the health aspect of it as well,” said Jackson.

The provincial health ministry gave its blessing to the updated bylaw earlier this month. Delta council will vote to adopt the new legislation at its meeting on Monday.

“I don’t anticipate there will be too much discussion about it,” said Jackson.