By Vanessa Broadbent
It’s official: no smoking is allowed in the Town of Oliver’s public spaces.
At Monday’s council meeting, council voted to adopt the new Smoke Free Bylaw 1375 which bans all smoking in public areas including parks and outdoor public spaces, as well as Town streets when they are used as part of a public event.
The bylaw has been in discussion since April and council considered exempting medical marijuana.
Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger, who voted against the bylaw, advocated for the exemption.
“I think that federally licenced medical marijuana users should be exempt. I think there’s a charter right for them.”
He pointed out that if the bylaw can make exemptions for aboriginal cultural activities and the “carrying of lighted incense or other lighted smoking equipment used solely for ceremonial or religious purposes,” medical marijuana should be permitted as well.
“If we’re going to allow those two exemptions for First Nations and for religious ceremonies, and those have to be planned in advance and could easily be done somewhere other than our town parks, I really don’t see why we can’t have an exemption for someone with medical marijuana issue that has to take their medicine when they’re in the park,” he said.
Councillor Dave Mattes argued that the bylaw complies with provincial and federal laws, both of which would override the municipal law.
“We worked very hard and got right back to where we started which was controlling smoking in parks,” he said.
The bylaw was adopted by all other councillors present.