Smoke free locations proposed for Oamaru

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Local playgrounds, sports fields, the public gardens and council-run events could soon be smoke free if a new proposal gets the green light.

The Waitaki District Council has included a proposal in the Waitaki Reserves Management Draft Plan to ban smoking at council-owned parks and playgrounds.

Members of the public are urged to send their submissions on the proposal to the council by June 4 so a decision can be made.

Waitaki District Council recreation manager Erik van der Spek said people needed to have their say on the issue.

“It’s something which has been brought up for the last few years, so we decided to put it in the plan see what reaction we receive from the public about it.”

Mr van der Spek said he would love to find out people’s views on the topic.

“Obviously, submissions don’t need to be in until June 4, but I’d love to see lots of them.”

If the proposal were to go ahead, then smoke free signs would be placed at the areas. The proposal would not apply to non-council owned grounds.

North Otago Rugby Union chief executive Colin Jackson had mixed views on the idea.

“In playgrounds, people shouldn’t be smoking, especially with children there, but otherwise at sports fields I have no issue with people smoking, unless they are in the stands – then it should be smoke free,” he said.

Mr Jackson said he felt smoke free sports fields would be difficult to manage.

Trust Power worker Evelyn Rzepecky, who is a smoker, said she wouldn’t have a problem if the areas in the plan were made smoke free.

“We get used to it so it’s something we’d (smokers) just become accustomed to.

“I never smoke at the gardens or playgrounds with my children, so wouldn’t be bothered if they were made smoke free.”

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

TIME FOR CHANGE: If a proposal in the Reserves Management Draft Plan is approved, smoking at the Oamaru Public Gardens will  banned.