By Giulia Raneri
The City of Melbourne has unanimously endorsed a motion making its new Market St Park a smoke-free area, in accordance with its local laws.
The smoke-free area will be sanctioned in the park between Collins St and Flinders Lane after councillors passed the motion at a Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on September 15.
The endorsement of the ban followed a public consultation period which was widely supportive of the proposal. Cr Jackie Watts said she believed the park would prove to be another “successful smoke-free area” in the city.
“I think the interesting thing to consider is how much support there was from the business community, because we all know that we will all benefit from a smoke-free environment,” she said.
The council recently updated its definition of smoking under the local law, extending it to include vaping and the use of e-cigarettes in any existing or future smoke-free areas from August 6.
The family-friendly park at Market St is currently being completed as part of the Collins Street Arch development and is scheduled to open later this year.
The park will provide extensive new open spaces featuring sprawling large lawns, water play, various seating, and space for programmed events.
The council is holding firm in its bid to implement numerous smoke-free areas throughout Melbourne’s CBD.
Currently, there are 11 areas in the CBD banning smoking, including Bourke Street Mall, Goldsborough Lane, The Causeway, QV Melbourne, Equitable Place, Howey Place, Black Place, the Tan and Princess Park running tracks, Collins Way and Fulham Place.
Most submissions to the council revealed that the majority were in in favour of the idea of making Market Street Place smoke-free, as some believed it will open the doors to making the space more family-friendly.
As the development is situated close to various well-established nightclubs and bars, Cr Philip Le Liu said, “it is imperative to engage with business owners and patrons regarding the laws”.
“I would really hate to see such a beautiful, open space being littered with cigarettes on Friday and Saturday nights.”
The council is set to outline a comprehensive communication and implementation plan aiming raise awareness of the new smoke-free area will be developed.
Cr Beverley Pinder said, “the city strives for education above enforcement” believing this would be yet another successful smoke-free area.
An education period will run until January 20, 2021 before any fines are issued in the area •