Smoke ban

Re­tail­ers say signs have lit­tle im­pact

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - Therese Col­man

De­spite a roll-out of smoke-free­zone sig­nage along Mar­garet River’s main street, shop own­ers and re­tail work­ers say the Shire pro­gram has made lit­tle dif­fer­ence.

In Septem­ber last year, the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River coun­cil voted for a smoke-free cam­paign for Mar­garet River’s main street, led by then deputy Shire pres­i­dent Kylie Ken­naugh.

The move in­cluded in­for­ma­tion kits and posters for lo­cal busi­nesses, and signs on main street bins.

The smoke-free zone did not in­clude a le­gal smoke ban or fines en­force­ment.

Shire cor­po­rate and com­mu­nity ser­vices di­rec­tor An­nie Riordan said no for­mal re­view of the im­pact pro­gram had taken place.

“While no for­mal re­view has been con­ducted, feed­back re­ceived about the ini­tia­tive has been very pos­i­tive,” she said.

A big num­ber of main street busi­nesses de­clined to com­ment on the smoke-free zone or were not aware of the cam­paign when the Times dropped in dur­ing re­cent weeks. A lo­cal re­tail worker, who wished not to be named, said the pro­gram was a flop.

“I’ve no­ticed that many of the peo­ple con­tin­u­ing to smoke on the main street are tourists, and it’s not sur­pris­ing that they light up,” she said. “The signs are not that ob­vi­ous. I my­self barely see the signs, so I as­sume they haven’t ei­ther. I no­tice the big­gest prob­lem is with smok­ers out­side of take­away places. A few peo­ple light up while wait­ing for their food.”

Mar­garet River Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Steven Cas­tan said the Shire cam­paign was a joint ini­tia­tive with the cham­ber and he be­lieved the cam­paign was suc­cess­ful.

“The smoke-free sug­ges­tion and sig­nage is a great aware­ness cam­paign and we have not re­ceived any neg­a­tive feed­back or back­lash from main-street traders in terms of it af­fect­ing trade ad­versely,” he said.

Pic­ture: Therese Col­man

A smoker on the main street of Mar­garet River.

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