Monday, 9 November 2009

When local government descends into politically correct insanity

Sometimes the email inbox holds the strange but true and last week was no exception as it spat out a little local government weirdness.
Now I'm not a cigarette/cigar/pipe smoker and generally agree that passive smoke concentrated in enclosed spaces isn't a good thing for people to breathe.
But even I think Clarence Valley Council has descended into madness by seeking to stop people smoking in quite a few council controlled public spaces that are often beside busy town roads and main roads which in the course of a normal day give off a steady flow of fine heavy metal particles which are known to be injurious to health when inevitably inhaled by pedestrians.
With barely a legal leg to stand on that isn't highly contestable as far as I can tell, it has adopted a Smoke Free Public Areas Policy which will:

restricting smoking in the following public outdoor areas on Council owned or managed land:

􀂃 Within fifteen (15) metres of all children's playgrounds;

􀂃 Within fifteen (15) metres of all covered bus stops and taxi ranks;

􀂃 At Council playing fields, sporting fields, sports centres and at outdoor sporting facilities where active sport is being played;

􀂃 At all events run or sponsored by Council;

􀂃 At all patrolled beaches and public jetties; and

􀂃 Within fifteen (15) metres of Council owned building entrances, including, but not limited to, sports stadiums and centres, swimming pools, tennis courts, squash courts and community buildings.

For this purpose, a public area can be defined as an area set aside for public recreationon Council owned and/or managed land, including: children's playgrounds; covered bus stops and taxi ranks; public jetties; patrolled beaches; sporting fields; sports stadiumsand centres; public swimming pools; squash courts; tennis courts; croquet lawns; and community buildings.

This Policy does not apply to the following public areas:

􀂃 Public footpaths;

􀂃 Al fresco dining areas; and

􀂃 General parks, gardens and open spaces, including grassed areas behind and/oradjacent to patrolled beaches.

What happens if you're on a public footpath just outside a council-owned building entrance which fronts the path?? Good luck with trying to police this one, councillors! The cost of pursuing recalcitrant smokers through the court will far outweigh the possible $110 penalty council has been strangely silent about.

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