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:
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.