Butt out, says RVC

A new outdoor smoking policy adopted by Richmond Valley Council on Tuesday would be “devastating” for some pubs in the area according to the licencee of Casino’s Commonwealth Hotel, Des Darragh.

The policy would ban smoking on public footpaths within a 70-metre radius of a licensed premise as well as other areas such as within 10 metres of children’s playground equipment, on all sporting facilities, within 10 metres of public barbecues, all ocean and river beaches, at all bus stops and taxi ranks and within 10 metres of Council buildings.

The policy was designed to educate the community about the dangers of second-hand smoke and to provide smoke-free areas throughout the Council area.

The policy will be enforced by “persuasion and self policing rather than punitive enforcement” but Council may amend it if necessary to include a $110 penalty infringement.

Two submissions and a petition were presented to councillors from the Commonwealth Hotel and the Richmond Valley/Kyogle Liquor Accord. They were strongly opposed to point 8 of the policy that refers to the 70-metre smoke free zone around licensed premises.

“This is going to destroy us,” Mr Darragh said.

The Commercial Hotel does not have an outdoor smoking area for its patrons and as a result, they have to use the footpath outside the pub.

“It is not appropriate for public footpaths to be used by hotel premises as a smoking area which, as a result, exposes the community to second-hand smoke and associated health risks. It also generates unacceptable litter due to the disposal of cigarette butts,” the Council’s staff report said.

Mr Darragh said he would now have to look at extending his licence area to include the carpark so patrons could take their drinks and cigarettes out there.

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