Smoke-filled tun­nel caus­ing headaches

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY FITZGER­ALD

Auck­land chil­dren are be­ing ex­posed to sec­ond-hand smoke on a daily ba­sis in a mo­tor­way un­der­pass.

Now un­der­pass users, Eller­slie res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers want the pedes­trian ac­cess to be smoke­free.

The Eller­slie un­der­pass runs be­neath the mo­tor­way be­tween Find­lay St and Sul­tan St pro­vid­ing ac­cess to the Eller­slie Train Sta­tion plat­form, Eller­slie School and One Tree Hill Col­lege. The un­der­pass has a liquor ban sign but no smoke­free sign.

Ev­ery day Mt Welling­ton res­i­dent Rachael Smith walks through the un­der­pass to work. She said it is an en­closed pub­lic walk­way and should be smoke­free.

Auck­land Coun­cil’s smoke­free pol­icy des­ig­nates a range of out­door pub­lic places as smoke­free. The pol­icy does not ban smok­ing but aims to de­nor­malise it. Coun­cil doc­u­ments show the well-be­ing of chil­dren and young peo­ple is cen­tral to the smoke­free pol­icy.

Eller­slie Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion town cen­tre man­ager Me­gan Dar­row said peo­ple reg­u­larly smoke in the un­der­pass and ‘‘kids have told me that the tun­nel is too long to hold your breath for’’.

‘‘If you are walk­ing through at the same time as peo­ple smok­ing in there, it is ex­tremely un­pleas­ant and many school par­ents have com­plained to me,’’ she said.

In Au­gust Dar­row lodged a re­quest with Auck­land Coun­cil to have no-smok­ing sig­nage in­stalled and in Oc­to­ber re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion that signs could not be in­stalled be­cause the un­der­pass does not fit into any cat­e­gory for smoke­free sta­tus in coun­cil’s pol­icy. Dar­row said coun­cil con­firmed with her that the 2013 pol­icy is un­der re­view fol­low­ing a num­ber of is­sues mak­ing cer­tain places smoke­free.

‘‘We would love to see the pedes­trian tun­nel be­come smoke­free as it is a highly utilised pedes­trian route by lo­cal work­ers and stu­dents from both One Tree Hill Col­lege and Eller­slie School,’’ Dar­row said.

Auck­land Coun­cil so­cial pol­icy and by­laws man­ager Michael Sin­clair said train sta­tions are smoke­free but the pol­icy does not in­clude pedes­trian walk­ways, which in­cludes the un­der­pass. He said over the next few weeks, it will in­ves­ti­gate smoke­free sign op­tions at the Eller­slie un­der­pass. Any im­ple­men­ta­tion would hap­pen in 2017, he said.


Rachael Smith is a reg­u­lar user of the Eller­slie un­der­pass and be­lieves it should be smoke­free.

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