THE ban on smoking in Vincent’s town centres is set to come into effect November 1, with hopes smokers will heed the signs so gentle prods and fines won’t be needed.
More than two years in the making since Cr Jonathan Hallett raised the motion, this week councillors endorsed the ban that’ll cover five high street hot spots:
• Leederville’s retail zone around Oxford Street;
• Beaufort Street retail strip;
• Mount Hawthorn’s main shop area along Scarborough Beach Road and the top of Oxford Street;
• North Perth around Fitzgerald and Angove Streets; and,
• The William Street precinct.
At the council meeting Vincent’s executive director for planning and place John Corbellini told councillors they probably wouldn’t need to be heavy-handed with fines to stop the smokers.
There’ll be a six-month grace period where signs will go up and rangers will just talk to people with an emphasis on educating people about the ban.
“Our experience is that those acts alone will essentially result in the smoke free town centres being achieved,” Mr Corbellini said. “[It’s] very unlikely we’ll need to issue infringements, and that’s certainly not something we’re looking to do if we don’t have to.”
The policy says fines would only be issued if there’s repeated noncompliance by someone “unresponsive to education”.
There’d also been some early concerns that this policy might force a smoker off the brightly lit entertainment strip into a dingy alleyway, so rangers are directed to consider “the safety and vulnerability of the person” lighting up.
Mayor Emma Cole said in a media statement on the smoke ban: “We know that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
“The smoke free areas cover many of our most lively commercial main strips and will create healthy environments for people who dine, relax and shop along the street.
“They will also discourage the normalisation of smoking and reducing litter from cigarette butts.”
The smoke ban, which includes vaping, was backed by state government public health organisation Healthway which is providing a $72,500 grant to cover the rollout and fund education campaigns helping at-risk people quit through groups like Noongar Outreach and Foyer Oxford.
The policy still needs a final rubberstamp from the state parliament committee proofreaders that oversee council rules, and if they’re happy with the plan the ban can start November 1.
by DAVID BELL