Spitting is already banned in the city, as is littering, failing to pick up after one’s dog and smoking in front of building entrances.

The Municipal Enforcement Division reported two smoking bylaw violations in 2016, and one so far this year.

Compared with other municipalities in Canada, Yellowknife has some of the least restrictive rules about smoking in public spaces.

In this city, smoking is banned within three metres of exits and entrances to city-owned facilities. Some southern municipalities have enacted bylaws that ban smoking as far away as 30 meters from recreational centres and outdoor sports fields.

There are also strict GNWT restrictions on smoking near any exit or entrance to an enclosed space where people work.

As reported in Yellowknifer Nov. 15, one councillor, Julian Morse, has proposed looking into expanding the no-smoking zone around city sports facilities. And the city is now pondering what to do about the whole issue of smoke-free zones.

It’s fair to say most people would generally support a ban on smoking in parks and other areas where children congregate – and it would be relatively easy to enforce. While littering, spitting, and failing to clean up after one’s dog is a usually a momentary and surreptitious act, people like to enjoy their cigarettes, so they are bound to be taking part in the offending act longer.

Council might want to ask itself, however, considering that it is already talking about taking big chunk out of the proposed 5.64-per-cent property tax increase, how this will affect bylaw’s time and budget? City administration may come back at them and say they need to hire more bylaw officers to catch speeders and now smokers.

Another potential issue that ought to be considered, who will likely be
on the receiving end of increased enforcement of the smoking ban? We hazard to guess, in the vernacular of the day, that they would mainly be the “homeless.”

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