As Whistler Blackcomb announces a blanket-wide smoking ban coming into effect at the end of May, its CEO admits they have no way of enforcing the new policy.
Dave Brownlie says the ban will include lift lines, chairlifts, gondolas, ski runs, hiking trails, parking lots, and all Whistler Blackcomb bars and restaurants, including patios.
But he says there is only so much they can do if people don’t comply.
“We don’t have the authority to ticket, all we have the authority is to manage our property.”
Reporter: “So you don’t have the authority to issue a ticket or any sort of penalty if someone is caught, or refuses, to quit smoking.”
“At the end of the day we do have the ability to refuse service.”
Starting May 31, for one year, there will be designated smoking areas for staff to help them adjust to the company’s new policy.
“We are all about fresh mountain air and a pristine alpine environment, so I think going smoke free makes sense. We are moving into this at a pretty soft approach, number one is we want to make sure people are aware of it, number two, hopefully out of respect of the guests and the environment they will understand, you know, and then we will escalate from there,”
The CEO of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce is welcoming the full smoking ban.
Val Litwin says the move is bold and shows leadership.
He isn’t worried about the potential impact on business and tourism.
“I’m sure you are going to have some guests that are going to say something about it, but I think the bigger picture here is we are a town that promotes healthy activity, we raise world class athletes here, we want to support and promote people’s health, and to have that pristine experience while they are up here.”
Litwin says more signage around businesses will make sure everyone is aware of the smoke-free policy.
As of May 31, 2016, the smoke-free policy will also apply to all staff.