Butting out: North Sydney goes smoke-free
North Sydney Council has voted to ban smoking in the North Sydney central business district, with smokers potentially subject to fines in the future.
Following four months of community consultation and 577 public submissions, Council moved in July to have the North Sydney CBD become the first smoke-free CBD in Australia.
“Our streets have been littered with cigarette butts, which just look messy,” Mayor Jilly Gibson tells North Shore Living.
“We’re pouring millions and millions of dollars into the redevelopment of our CBD and cigarette butts look disgusting on our pavements. And, of course, when it rains, they all wash down into the harbour.”
The ban will be implemented in two stages, the second of which could see smokers hit with fines.
This is despite firm assurances by Council, when the ban was first proposed in October 2018, that enforcement will be entirely on a self-regulated basis.
Following a three-month self-regulation period, where awareness of the ban will be promoted through footpath decals, Council will consider whether formal penalties are needed.
“I hope we won’t have to police this and enforce this,” Mayor Gibson says.
“We want this to be self-policing and to work on goodwill and on the sharing of information, but if that doesn’t happen, we’ll then consider enforcement.”
She calls on the North Sydney community to ensure the ban remains self-regulated by speaking out and educating others.
“North Sydney residents are very good at getting involved in things that they want to make work,” she maintains.
“It won’t just be our rangers trying to spread the message, it will be our community members.”
The ban is widely supported among the general community, with 80 per cent of submissions to Council supporting the initiative.