Beaches should be smokefree
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.