Oliver is about to have a Smoke Free Bylaw. Council members voted to move this item forward – voting for 1st, 2nd and third reading. Final adoption scheduled for June 25.
Members of council debated this item in several meeting previously with a lot of concern that it was too broad in each scope. But now everyone seems to be on the same page.
The main bone of contention a definition of public areas vs having a smoke while walking down a street. Public place is now defined as parks and public areas where citizens congregate. So smoke on a street with a parade is happening on a street event is NOT okay. Public place is any business that welcomes people to buy a product or service.
Another change was an exemption for any person with a federal license to consume a cannabis product for medical purposes. It was pointed out again that both the Federal Government and the Provincial government has yet to regulate the sale of cannabis and no act or regulations published. Oliver is one of the last municipal areas to adopt a Smoke Free Bylaw for public areas. Next project for staff will be a communications strategy to roll out the new bylaw once passed. Bylaw officers will be in the education business for the first summer and it is unlikely to see tickets being issued in July and August.
It had been recommended that council members take a pay raise in January of 2019 to counter a federal government move to remove a 1/3 exemption on council member’s stipend. But council voted to only receive the report and allow a future elected council to make that decision if so desired.
Council Dave Mattes stated this was a tax matter and that when federal taxes go up – ordinary citizens do not get a raise. Quite a bit of debate on the subject but in the final analysis this group of elected officials said NO to the staff recommendation. Many other municipal government acted on the recommendation that would see the net amount of pay staying the same.