The City of Fort Saskatchewan is seeking public input as council and staff work to finalize a local smoking bylaw.
Residents are invited to complete an online survey that will be posted on the city’s website until August 7. The survey asks people to share their thoughts on a number of questions related to where various types of smoking – cannabis, tobacco, vaping and e-cigarettes – should be allowed in the city.
"Generally we're looking at how citizens feel about aligning these different types of smoking as well as what locations they'd like to see those restricted and whether there's interest in designated smoking areas," said T.J. Auer, community social planning coordinator with the city.
The smoking bylaw has been a regular topic in council meetings this year as the city prepares for the upcoming October 17 federal legalization of recreational cannabis use.
“Earlier in the year we heard from the community that they would prefer a restrictive approach to cannabis,” Auer said, pointing out that this input was reflected in an initial draft of the city’s proposed smoking bylaw.
After hearing from some concerned experts at public hearings, council decided to send the draft bylaw back for some more work, potentially to align tobacco and cannabis use into a single regulation.
“The information presented stated smoking or inhaling combustibles, in any form, is bad for our health,” said Janel Smith-Duguid, acting city manager. Health and law enforcement representatives shared several concerns with council, including their belief that aligning smoking rules into one bylaw would be in the best interest of preventing smoking normalization and ensuring enforceability.
"We'll be taking the considerations from the survey back to council as they deliberate over the smoking bylaw,” Auer added.