Another win for non-smokers
Pamela and Gord Weitzel are breathing a smoke-free sigh of relief after a long, stressful battle against a chain-smoking neighbour.
The Langley couple are claiming victory against second hand smoke wafting into their home for the past three years.
The Weitzels dropped their BC Human Rights complaint against their chain-smoking neighbour after he agreed to install an expensive exhaust fan in his suite and now their strata complex has voted for a “no smoking allowed” bylaw last month.
“Non-smokers rights count in this millennium,” said Gord. He is ecstatic that he and his wife can stay in their ground level condo. Also, his chain-smoking neighbour passed away in April. He was only 68, said Weitzel.
Gord and Pam both suffer from health disorders and when they moved into Willow Park Estates, outfitted the doorways with ramps and expensive grab bars. They like their condo’s nearness to Willowbrook Mall and didn’t want to move.
They provided their strata with doctors’ notes indicating that the smoking was impacting their breathing. The strata council said at the time it didn’t have the power to do anything.
The Weitzels decided to file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal in fall 2010.
The Tribunal accepted the complaint and served the strata notice. It was only a couple of months ago that the Tribunal awarded a Langley couple $8,000 in compensation for having to live with second-hand smoke at their 53 Avenue condo complex. The tribunal ruled that the strata pay the couple for “injury to their dignity and self respect” and for costs for an air conditioner and naturopathic treatments after having smoke waft into their condo from smokers living below them.
Melanie and Matthew McDaniel had filed a complaint to their strata about cigarette smoke coming into their unit from smoker’s below.
Melanie said she is severely allergic and was six months pregnant at the time. She pointed out she had more rights at work than in her own home.
It does seem the tables are turning on smokers’ rights. There are fewer and fewer places smokers can light up. Also a recent study released said fewer and fewer teens are taking up the cancerous habit.
This year, Metro Vancouver Parks banned smoking in all 33 of its regional parks and greenways, including Derby Reach and Brae Island in Langley.
B.C. bans smoking in all indoor public spaces, near any doorways or windows and at bus stops. In Vancouver, there is no smoking on restaurant patios as well.