Smokefree CBD a step closer

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Invercargill City Centre co-ordinator Kari Graber installs the first of Invercargill's Smokefree Areas Policy signs at the corner of Barclay Ln and Esk St last week.

THE first of Invercargill’s Smokefree Areas Policy signs were installed by Invercargill City Council (ICC) staff last week.

Invercargill City Centre co-ordinator Kari Graber said the 42cm by 30cm plastic signs were installed on the corner of Barclay Ln and Esk St, and on the side of the Young Reflections building on Tay St.

More signs would be installed at the pocket park on Esk St during the next few weeks, she said.

Over the next few months, similar signage would appear on city buses and in Wachner Pl.

The two signs to be installed in Wachner Pl would be in Maori and English, with one either side of the public restrooms. These signs would be much bigger, measuring 2.15m wide by 1.5m high.

It was still being debated whether the Wachner Pl signs should be plastic signs glued permanently to the walls there, or made of more expensive metal sheeting which could be bolted in place and more easily removed at a later date if desired, Ms Graber said.

Smoke Free Murihiku health promotion adviser Mandy Murphy said the signs marked a milestone in a long, ongoing journey to make the city and the nation smokefree by 2025.

“It’s a continuation of a work already started by councils throughout New Zealand. We are the next in a line [of places] where our council has taken the view that smokefree lifestyles are important. The aim of providing smokefree spaces is to build resilience in kids who will hopefully now see less examples of people smoking in public.”

The Smokefree Areas Policy was unanimously passed by the ICC at a meeting last November.

The policy – an idea originally submitted by the Invercargill Youth Council – makes the area within the boundary of Tay, Spey, Deveron and Dee Sts (including Wachner Pl) a smokefree area.

Smoking, for the purpose of the policy, includes e-cigarettes and vaporisers.

However, the policy, which will be reviewed in a year and extended to other areas of Invercargill if found to be effective, cannot be legally enforced.

Business owners wanting a sign on their building can contact Ms Graber.

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