Smoking bylaw proposed in Fredericton

(Megan Cooke/AQ)
Proposed smoking bylaw may mean less places for students to light up (Megan Cooke/AQ)

There may not be many places for smokers to light up their cigarettes soon in Fredericton.

Mayor Brad Woodside has asked his staff at city hall to put together a proposal for a bylaw. This bylaw would ban smoking in all city owned parks and beaches, as well as on patios.

“It’s the result of a number of people, who have complained to me about the lack of a smoking policy in Fredericton, particularly in public places,” Mayor Woodside told CBC. People have been asking him about this issue, and now the mayor is pursuing it.

This bylaw would leave many students who smoke with a dilemma. There are various smoking spots around STU, but it’s those who live off campus who would have the most trouble.

“It is kind of upsetting. We can’t smoke indoors or outdoors now?” asked off-campus student Lindsey MacKay. “What about students who live in non-smoking apartments? I’m not driving to the outskirts of town just to have a cigarette.”

Though MacKay is annoyed, there are some students who are for the proposed bylaw.

“On big events like Canada day, I think that it would be super helpful if there was no smoking in officers square,” said third-year student Jodi Connors. “My mother is unbelievably sensitive to smoke. She can barely enjoy downtown during big festivities because there’s always someone puffing on a cigarette.”

Connors also worries about kids playing on the beach or in parks, who might be subject to second-hand smoke.

“There are so many kids around and no one wants breathe that in.”

For Mayor Woodside, what the bylaw really boils down to, is respect.

“It’s really people having respect for one another,” Woodside told CBC. “When you’re sitting on a patio filled with people and you’re in the middle of it, then you light up a cigarette, it obviously has an impact on other people.”

Woodside wants to separate the smoking from the non-smokers. This way, people who have problems like smoking allergies or asthma won’t have difficulty breathing when they hang out at the park, or go for a swim at the beach.

MacKay understands there are people who can’t stand the smell of smoke, but thinks Fredericton needs to be more accommodating to the smokers too.

“I can understand the thought behind the proposal. If you’re not a smoker then you don’t want to be around people who are smoking right? If it’s that big of an issue with people then they need to do something to accommodate smokers,” said MacKay.

The bylaw is far from finalized. In order for it to be implemented it needs to get pass both a debate and vote in city council. This debate will take place at the next city council meeting.

If the law is passed however, smokers will certainly need to be accommodated, or the bylaw will not last very long.

MacKay hopes Mayor Woodside doesn’t forget about the smokers.

“If the bylaw is passed, Woodside better have a plan to construct smoking huts downtown because there is going to be a lot of upset smokers.”

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