Halifax’s rollout of its new ban on smoking and vaping has a small issue — and you only have to hear their advertising to know why.
“No matter what you’re smoking or vaping, as of Oct. 15, all city property in the Halifax region is smoke-free,” a 15-second Facebook advertisement touts.
“A map showing designated areas where smoking and vaping is permitted is available online.”
Except it’s not. As of Thursday evening, there’s still no map available on the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) website.
With cannabis legalization set for Oct. 17, Halifax Regional Council has voted to amend its existing Nuisance Bylaw to prohibit smoking of any kind on municipal property, except in specially-designated areas. It’s now called the Smoking and Nuisance Bylaw.
The rollout for the amended bylaw has been problematic. It was originally supposed to come into effect on Oct. 1, only for the municipality to announce on Sept. 19 that logistical issues would push the date back.
At the end of September, the municipality announced that it would, in “the coming days,” begin to accept applications from businesses for designated smoking areas with a map showing the location of those designated smoking areas being brought online soon after.
It only began accepting those applications late last week and the map still hasn’t been posted.
In an email on Thursday, the HRM confirmed they have received approximately 50 applications and that the map will be active by Oct. 15 — the day that its newly amended bylaw will come into effect.
But they say that doesn’t mean they’ll begin to hand out tickets right away.
“It has always been our focus to educate and urge compliance for all our bylaws. Enforcement is a tool we have in the toolbox but not our first option,” wrote Brendan Elliot, a spokesperson for the municipality.
Elliot says that logistical challenges are the cause in the delay but that the municipality is “moving in a logical manner.”
“We are progressing as quickly as possible with a goal of having everything in place by Monday,” he said.
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