The city has placed a bus stop so close to some homes in the Clayton area that people smoking while waiting for transit are in contravention of Surrey’s new smoking bylaw.
City staff are now puzzled as to what to do about the problem.
A year ago, Sophia D’Amato purchased a home in the 6700 block 194 Street. All was well until this year, when the city installed a bus stop in front of her home.
People waiting there, who typically smoke before getting on the bus, are sending clouds of cigarette smoke into D’Amato’s and her neighbours’ homes.
Last year, Surrey passed a bylaw requiring people refrain from smoking within 7.5 metres from a door or window.
The bus stop is within 4.8 metres from the closest dwelling.
Adding to that problem, when it’s raining, people waiting for the bus often seek shelter on the porches of D’Amato and her neighbour Jamie Moniz.
Both women have young children and are infuriated with the frequent second-hand smoke and periodic visits from strangers looking for shelter.
“I wouldn’t have spent my life savings on this house knowing that bus stop would be outside,” said Moniz. “I didn’t pay almost $600,000 for somebody to sit on my porch.”
All that smoke wafts into the area, exposing her young children to second-hand smoke.
Enforcing the city’s smoking bylaw should be a given, Moniz said, but she isn’t optimistic.
“Have you ever tried to get Surrey bylaw to come out for anything? It takes 24 hours. They’re going to catch people how?”
Jaime Boen, Surrey’s manager of transportation, said staff are currently working on a solution to the problem.
He noted that it would be unfeasible to have a bylaw officer posted at the bus stop 24-7, and said Coast Mountain Bus Company has said no to moving the bus stop somewhere else.
The city has offered the people living in the three homes most affected $1,700 to build a fence or plant a hedge, the latter of which might reduce the amount of smoke somewhat, according to Boen.
The two women declined the offer.
“We are looking into the smoking issue because they pointed out correctly that it’s within 7.5 metres of their door,” Boen said, confirming smoking there would be in violation of Surrey’s bylaw.
“I’m hoping to find a solution… but as of yet, I don’t have an answer,” Boen told The Leader this week.