Smokers in Metro Vancouver-run parks could soon be limited to using specific smoking zones.

Smokers in Metro Vancouver-run parks could soon be limited to using specific smoking zones.

Metro may ban park smoking except in puffer zones

Compromise plan for regional beaches, parks goes to vote of full board

Smoking may soon be outlawed in most parts of regional parks and beaches run by Metro Vancouver.

The Metro parks committee on Wednesday recommended smokers be limited to puffing only in specific smoking zones to be determined by staff.

The restrictions go to a vote of the Metro board July 24.

Smoking zones would be close to popular areas where many people congregate, provided they minimize second-hand smoke exposure, litter and the risk of fire.

Metro directors rejected a staff recommendation to use a more complex set of rules that would vary depending on the season – based on fire risk – and outlaw smoking on some high-use trails but not others.

“We don’t want to hire a whole bunch of smoke police,” Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean said. “We feel the majority of people who smoke are law-abiding and would abide by the rules.”

Langley City Coun. Gayle Martin, who chairs the parks committee, said she would have preferred rules that simply prohibited smoking in zones around high-use areas but allow it everywhere else in the parks.

Vancouver council wanted a full ban on smoking throughout Metro parks, but its motion was voted down at a previous committee meeting.

The planned smoking policy would affect regional parks like Tynehead, Campbell Valley, Pacific Spirit, Lynn Headwaters and Belcarra regional parks as well as greenways such as Pitt River and Seymour River.

Beaches governed by Metro Parks include Centennial Beach at Boundary Bay Regional Park, Wreck Beach in Vancouver and Sasamat Lake in Belcarra.

Several cities across the region either partly or fully ban smoking in their municipal parks.

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