'That's a no brainer': Sun Peaks Resort says no smoking on the mountain | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'That's a no brainer': Sun Peaks Resort says no smoking on the mountain

A webcam image of the chair lift at Sun Peaks Resort.
August 11, 2017 - 2:49 PM

SUN PEAKS - Cities and communities have been adapting to the extreme fire danger in one of the worst fire seasons ever in B.C. but few have gone as far as Sun Peaks Resort.

Erik Meertens is in charge of mountain operations at the resort and says a new policy was implemented last month banning outdoor smoking on the mountain and the golf course. Why this ban was important for the resort?

“Sorry but that's a no brainer,” Meertens says in an email to iNFOnews.ca. “Fire hazard is extreme and there's too much at stake.”

The resort’s chairlift still operates in the summer and there’s signage posted to make people aware of the new policy. In the hot and dry conditions everywhere in the province, the resort doesn’t want to take any chances on someone potentially dropping a cigarette off the lift.

So far there’s been no issues with people complying to the ban, Meertens says.

“There are no major repercussions per say unless they were to start a fire,” he says. “This has not happened to date. We speak to them at points of sale and bottom and top of (the) lift. There have been no issues.”

The resort has also added more outdoor ashtrays and increased fire training and education for on-hill staff. They’re taking precautions for employees while the air quality is poor in the area, although Meertens says the air quality in Sun Peaks isn’t as bad as it is in Kamloops.

The City of Kamloops began taking extra steps to address the fire danger earlier this summer when they closed several parks including some that have popular hiking and biking trails.

There’s already a bylaw prohibiting people from smoking in Kamloops parks and Deputy Mayor Arjun Singh says although there’s no active discussions to impose more strict bans on smoking, nothing is off the table.

“I don’t think we’ve contemplated, yet, any further smoking restrictions,” Singh says. “Everything’s on the table. We monitor things as we go along.”

There was a short stint last month when parks were re-opened to the public, but Kamloops Fire Rescue ordered them closed once again on Aug. 4.

Singh also reminds people in Kamloops struggling with the air quality to be aware of how to mitigate their risks, including staying indoors, avoiding strenuous activities outside, and wearing an N95 mask if necessary.

For more information on how to protect yourself from poor air quality, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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