Smoking ban eyed for next carnival

Timaru mayor Damon Odey is open to extending the district council's "no smoking" policy to the Caroline Bay carnival.

The council has a smokefree policy for its parks and playgrounds, but this does not extend to Caroline Bay or its entertainment complex.

"I guess you could call the carnival our biggest playground," Mr Odey said.

"There could be merit in extending the policy."

The Herald and Port FM have received more than 70 comments on their Facebook pages about many of the private carnival workers "smoking and swearing" in front of children.

Caroline Bay Association's departing president Kevin Ancell told the Herald its volunteers were issued with a blue shirt, and asked to bring tidy trousers.

There was also a designated smoking spot. However, he had "no control" over the private carnival workers.

Mr Odey said he would talk to the association about possible solutions.

"The volunteers do a great job. I've got nothing but praise for them ... but there's nothing to stop the association setting some guidelines for the private workers," he said.

The association has exclusive use of the facility it built and gifted to the council for the carnival period. It has a financial agreement with the private operators.

The 103rd annual carnival wrapped up last weekend.

Timaru district parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said the council's smokefree policy for parks and playgrounds was "educative".

"We have signs up, but we don't have people policing our parks and playgrounds for smokers, it's expected the public inform people," he said.

Councillors voted in favour of introducing smokefree playgrounds in 2011 and in 2012 extended that policy to its sportsgrounds.

Those changes were in response to submissions from school groups and organisations such as Smokefree South Canterbury.

Smokefree South Canterbury chairperson Carmen Chamberlain said the organisation would make another submission at this year's annual plan hearings.

"The carnival is a place for children and families - private ride operators smoking in front of kids while they lift them on to the rides does not send the right message. It's also potentially a fire hazard," Ms Chamberlain said.

"The carnival would be a good start, but I would like to see Caroline Bay smokefree all year. The council have been very receptive so far."

The Timaru Herald