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Butts out at bus stops

Robert Legault lights up at a bus stop Tuesday morning.  - Brian Giebelhaus / Black Press
Robert Legault lights up at a bus stop Tuesday morning.
— image credit: Brian Giebelhaus / Black Press

The days of smoking while waiting for the bus in Surrey are coming to an end.
The city is drafting a bylaw banning smoking at bus stops after Surrey placed a bus stop so close to a Clayton home, smokers were in violation of the city’s existing law.
As first reported in The Leader Friday (Feb. 18), Sophia D’Amato complained after the city put a bus stop within five metres of her home in the 6700 block of 194 Street. The city’s bylaw requires smokers to be a minimum distance of 7.5 meters from any door, window or vent. Cigarette smoke from people waiting at the stop wafted into D’Amato’s and her neighbours’ homes.
On Monday, Surrey’s manager of transportation Jaime Boan sent D’Amato and nearby homeowners an email proposing a solution to the problem.
“We have agreed that we would modify our smoking bylaw to explicitly prohibit smoking at bus stops,” Boan wrote.
“This will avoid the argument that individuals could not be expected to know that it is within 7.5 m of a door/window. This change would be done in conjunction with the by-law change to prohibit smoking in public parks.”
Signs will be posted at all Surrey bus stops over the next few weeks, and fines won’t be handed out for another 30 days beyond that.
Boan told The Leader Monday he’s waiting on word from one of the city lawyers as to how far people would have to be from a bus stop to comply with the new bylaw. Most of the bus stops have a cement pad, he said, and noted it would likely include that area. Fines for a violation would range from $100 to $2,000.
Several other cities also have bylaws prohibiting smoking at bus stops including Richmond, North Vancouver, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Reaction among transit riders to Surrey’s new bylaw is mixed.
Andrew McCormick, 17, thinks the ban is a terrible idea.
“I think it’s f---ing retarded,” McCormick said. “Everybody smokes.”
Kanli Fong said she takes transit daily, and has to endure heavy clouds of smoke at bus stops. She believes because there’s a fine attached, people will comply.
Ricardo Ruano agrees.
“I think they should (ban smoking at bus stops),” he said. “(People) smell like smoke even after they get on the bus.”
Kevin, a smoker who didn’t want to give his last name, said it’s only right that he not share his smoke with non-smokers.
“This day and age, not a lot of people smoke,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with that.”
The amendment to the smoking bylaw is expected before council as soon as March 14.
kdiakiw@surreyleader.com




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