North Sydney smokers slapped with fines
North Sydney Council will begin fining smokers caught breaching its smoking ban twice after admitting its ‘current strategy of self-regulating is not effective.’
The current ban, brought in July last year, has operated on a self-policing basis, with council focusing on informing the public through its social media, newsletters, website, and footpath decals.
However, a new report has found that this model is not working, with smokers ‘defiant of the ban in the knowledge that no penalties are to be applied’.
“Everyone is still smoking wherever they like,” the report states.
“Smokers are becoming abusive and confrontational when they have been approached to observe the ban.
“…People are not willing to confront a smoker or smokers who ignore the ban.”
As a result, council has agreed to adopt a strategy whereby the smoker will be warned after the first breach before being fined for any subsequent violation.
The decision came after monitoring by council staff over an hour on several mornings in January this year found that more than 100 people per day were smoking within the area of the ban.
Interviews with people on the street also revealed only 30 per cent were aware of the ban.
As well as introducing the fines, council has agreed to reduce the ban area to key CBD streets and install designated smoking areas.
The ban will be enforced on the block bound by Berry Street, from the corners of Miller to Walker Streets; Walker Street, from the corners of Berry Street to Pacific Highway; Mount Street from the corner of Walker Street to the intersection of William Street; and Miller Street, between Pacific Highway and Berry Street.
The ban will also be in effect at the council chambers precinct.
North Sydney Council has advised the fines will not come into effect until budgetary funds can be allocated to install new signage, allocate approved smoking areas and equip such areas with bins with ashtrays.