Beach smokers must butt out

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury City Council will develop a local law that bans the smoking of tobacco products at the new-look Koombana Bay foreshore.
Camera IconBunbury City Council will develop a local law that bans the smoking of tobacco products at the new-look Koombana Bay foreshore. Credit: Supplied / City of Bunbury

Smoking will be banned at Koombana Bay after a push for a new local law gained strong support from Bunbury City Council this week.

The council will now develop, adopt and apply a local law that bans the smoking of tobacco products at the new-look foreshore after Cr Brendan Kelly successfully put forward a motion at the council’s meeting on Tuesday.

In a landslide vote, the council voted 7-2 in favour of the local law with Mayor Gary Brennan and Cr Sam Morris voting against it, councillors Jaysen Miguel and Todd Brown on approved leave and Cr Michelle Steck absent from the meeting.

Cancer Council WA South West regional education officer Shenae Norris – who presented a deputation to the council ahead of its vote – said the move was a “huge step” for the community.

“We are extremely pleased that the City of Bunbury has taken this step,” Ms Norris said.

Cancer Council WA South West regional education officer Shenae Norris welcomes the new local law.
Camera IconCancer Council WA South West regional education officer Shenae Norris welcomes the new local law. Credit: South Western Times

“Creating healthier environments is a huge step forward in reducing the impact that cancer has on our community.”

Ms Norris told the council that Bunbury’s smoking rate was an “alarming” 18 per cent and “significantly” higher than the State and South West averages of 12.1 per cent and 13 per cent.

“With such a high smoking rate here in Bunbury, this is an opportunity to help people to quit, create healthier environments for non smokers and denormalise tobacco use with the long-term goal to reduce initiation of smoking amongst youth,” she said.

“This is not about telling people what they can and can’t do – this is about promoting positive messaging, creating healthy environments for our community and denormalising smoking.”

Cr Kelly said it was an “exciting time” for Bunbury and the decision was “progressive”.

“We have the newly-developed Koombana Bay, it’s at the heart of Bunbury, it’s a go-to area for families and it’s a stop point for visitors,” Cr Kelly said.

“It’s absolutely not about having rangers hide behind bushes to get the smokers prosecuted ... it’s not about a nanny state and we don’t want to tell people what to do, it’s about promoting a positive message for everybody.”

Bunbury city councillor Brendan Kelly put forward the motion to ban smoking at Koombana Bay.
Camera IconBunbury city councillor Brendan Kelly put forward the motion to ban smoking at Koombana Bay. Credit: South Western Times

In his debate against the motion, Mr Brennan said he was getting “mixed messages” from councillors between a local law and the discouraging of smoking.

“There’s a big difference, a local law is a regulation if it gets through the parliamentary process – it’s a law, which bans smoking,” Mr Brennan said.

“It’s a law that needs to be enforced so I can‘t support a local law ... but I do support having signage that encourages people not to smoke.”

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