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Langley mom takes fight for clean air in condos to B.C. Legislature

Last Updated Apr 4, 2019 at 2:44 pm PDT

Naomi Baker and her daughter at the B.C. Legislature on April 4, 2019. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Current strata default is is that you can smoke unless a bylaw is passed, banning it

LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) – What would you do to keep your kids out of harms way? For a Langley woman, it’s gathering thousands of signatures, in an effort to keep smoking out of her strata building.

On Thursday, she presented that petition — with nearly 20,000 signatures — at the BC legislature. She wants to see smoking banned in multi-unit homes.

Naomi Baker started the crusade in earnest when pregnant with her daugher Faith, who is now ten months. “If individuals choose to make a choice for themselves, then that’s fine. But responsibly, they shouldn’t be impacting other people’s health that are not making that choice.”

“People should not have to be taking this fight on, unit by unit, building by building,” Baker said.

Support is coming from all political corners.

“There’s Green members who are supportive, NDP, and BC Liberals,” said Mary Polak, Liberal house leader.

She says right now, the strata default is that you can smoke unless a bylaw is passed, banning it. She doesn’t think it would be that hard to make reverse that.

“You’d have to do it provincially. You start from the beginning and say, ‘You can smoke only if you pass a two-thirds vote that enables it. That would be strata by strata.”

Baker says it’s not unique for homeowners to have restrictions — like wood burning or watering your lawns. She feels second-hand smoke should be added to the list.

She says you can’t simply escape someone’s smoke with a wall.

“I think the most reasonable option, when you’re looking at stratas, is the default being flipped to reflect what we know … of the inability to keep the air out of other people’s homes in attached housing.”

Baker, Polak, and the housing minister met on Thursday to discuss options.