Smoke angers shopkeeper – retail giant asked to act
BY SANDRAY SIAGIAN
JOHN Yang is fed up with the smoke that drifts up to his store on Rose Street, Hurstville. The owner of Sunny Sunny, an independent discount store, is the first shop on the street next to one of the entrances to Westfield Hurstville, meaning it is the closest shop for smokers congregating outside. ‘‘The smell and smoke gets really bad, especially when the wind blows in our direction,’’ Mr Yang said. ‘‘I’ve started using fans at the entrance of my store to blow the smoke out but it’s not that effective.’’ Even with a ‘‘No Smoking’’ sign posted at the entrance of the shopping centre, Mr Yang has seen people standing just past the sign, closer to his store near a fire exit stairwell to smoke. He tried handing out flyers and putting up signs about the dangers of passive smoking. He even tried to prevent people from sitting in the stairwell. Mr Yang thinks Westfield Hurstville should ban people from smoking near the entrance and provide a smoking area on the roof. A Westfield Hurstville spokeswoman said the centre continually monitored all of their entrances to ensure requirements from the NSW Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000 were met. ‘‘Additionally, we issue memos to retailers operating within Westfield to educate them on their obligations under the act,’’ the spokeswoman said. ‘‘Whilst we do not have the jurisdiction to issue penalties, we do alert anyone who we consider to not be abiding by the legislation of the implications as per the act.’’ Under the statewide smoking act there is no distance requirement to ban smoking from a non-residential building entrance. Health Minister Jillian Skinner announced in February smoking would be banned at the entrances to public buildings by the end of this year as part of legislation that would also snuff out smoking at playgrounds, sports grounds, swimming pools and public transport stops. The Westfield Hurstville spokeswoman said the centre now banned smoking within five metres of its entrances. ‘‘We will be putting up signage that states it is a fire exit stairwell (which it is) and therefore has to be kept clear,’’ she said. ‘‘Security are monitoring that people do not sit and dwell around the stairs on the basis that a fire exit stair should be kept clear.’’ Hurstville councillor Nancy Liu, who inspected the site and also spoke with the centre management staff, suggested smokers could be moved to the roof. Cr Liu said there would need to be tougher penalties for breaches of the law once it was in place. ‘‘Unless they have some enforcement powers then I don’t know how the situation can be improved,’’ Cr Liu said. Do you think there should be a limit set for where people can smoke outside non-residential buildings?