Beaches should be smoke­free

Kapi-Mana News - - LETTERS -

Bron­wyn Kropp got more than a bee in her bon­net when she tried to re­lax at the beach last sum­mer.

The Porirua City coun­cil­lor re­ceived a face full of cig­a­rette smoke from a nearby smoker, and for her it was the fi­nal straw. She is now try­ing to gather sup­port to make the city’s beaches smoke­free.

We say good luck to her. Parks and re­serves in Porirua are al­ready smoke­free, so why shouldn’t peo­ple at Ti­tahi Bay Beach, Kare­hana Bay or any other water­side spot be able to en­joy their day out with­out sec­ond­hand smoke waft­ing around the place?

Some naysay­ers might scoff at how a smoke­free beach would be en­forced and how more vis­ual pol­lu­tion might be cre­ated with ex­tra sig­nage.

En­force­ment would be tough, but as Kropp rightly said, if the de­ci­sion was made, it could be prece­dent set­ting for New Zealand. Res­i­dents would come to know the rule, it would be­come com­mon­place, and the smok­ing would grad­u­ally stop.

Porirua City Coun­cil or the po­lice are not go­ing to have their of­fi­cers pa­trolling beaches for peo­ple smok­ing, but it would not take long for the smoke­free mes­sage to get through.

As for sig­nage, slap­ping a dis­tinc­tive green smoke­free sticker on to coun­cil signs at beaches is not a tough as­sign­ment.

This is an op­por­tu­nity for Porirua to be a leader. Young peo­ple are at the heart of the city coun­cil’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing process now and surely hav­ing more public ar­eas smoke­free, in­clud­ing favourite play spots for chil­dren, makes com­plete sense. The de­ci­sion of the ap­pli­cant for a liquor store in the mid­dle of Tawa’s shops to aban­don the pro­ject af­ter he got wind of gath­er­ing op­po­si­tion is a per­fect ex­am­ple of com­mu­nity ac­tion and the power of so­cial media.

Those op­posed to the pro­posed liquor store ral­lied smartly and Neigh­bourly and Face­book helped get the word out.

Po­lice and Re­gional Public Health were go­ing to ob­ject, rais­ing the num­ber of sub­mis­sions to more than 20, mean­ing a Dis­trict Li­cens­ing Com­mit­tee hear­ing would have been trig­gered.

The pro­posed liquor store was in the wrong place. Hav­ing it op­po­site the Sal­va­tion Army store, and with an 11pm clos­ing, was not ten­able. The op­po­si­tion would have been fierce.

There would have been no stom­ach for a liquor store be­cause, to many res­i­dents, it nor­malises al­co­hol in cen­tral ar­eas. Be­ing one of the last places to sell booze ev­ery night of the week could have led to public dis­or­der in or around the main street.

Tawa was for a long time a ‘‘dry’’ sub­urb, al­low­ing al­co­hol to be sold there only from 1999. To­day, if you want to buy beer or wine, there are two su­per­mar­kets, a Su­per Liquor and sev­eral bars and li­censed restau­rants. No more are needed.

We feel ap­pli­cants should be forced to bet­ter ad­ver­tise their pro­pos­als, es­pe­cially for out­lets like bot­tle stores. An ad­ver­tise­ment in a news­pa­per is not enough.

Credit must be given to the ap­pli­cant for back­ing down, and we hope he fol­lows through in his de­sire to open a less con­tro­ver­sial store.

The main street shops could do with a shot in the arm and new busi­nesses must be en­cour­aged.

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