Judge orders B.C. man to stop smoking while appealing condo's ban
Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, January 26, 2016 6:37PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 26, 2016 7:49PM EST
VANCOUVER -- A "life-long smoker" has been ordered to butt out inside his Langley, B.C., apartment while he waits to challenge his condo corporation with a human rights complaint.
A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has concluded that Paul Aradi must follow a no-smoking bylaw in his building, despite having difficulty standing and walking.
In a ruling posted online Tuesday, Judge Wendy Harris said she will not allow the 70-year-old to continue disregarding the bylaw until the Human Rights Tribunal holds a hearing.
Aradi's rights complaint asks the corporation to accommodate his disability, which he said affects his ability to smoke his cigarettes outside. It's expected the hearing will be held in July, although it has not been formally scheduled.
"That would be approximately six months away from now, which is a significant period for those owners who have expressed concerns about the smell of cigarettes and the effects of second-hand smoke on their health and the use and enjoyment of their property," Harris wrote.
"I reject the respondent's contention that their concerns are exaggerated or ideologically based."
The Canadian Forces veteran purchased his condo in 2002, seven years before the corporation prohibited smoking inside individual units. The corporation did not attempt to enforce the bylaw until December 2013, after other residents began complaining.
Aradi began accumulating fines, but did not pay the $2,300.
He instead filed short, hand-written responses.
Aradi asserted the bylaw is discriminatory in creating two classes of citizens, smokers and non-smokers. He also accused the corporation of trying to force him to move because he had complained about certain bills from the corporation.
In affidavits filed in the case, the corporation's secretary states that at least five owners made complaints, ranging from health risks of second-hand smoke to fire risks, foul odour and negative effect on property values.
In her ruling, the judge found that the smoking bylaw was valid and residents have a "reasonable expectation" that it will be consistently enforced.
Harris also found that Aradi did not file his human rights complaint until more than a year after he was first fined.
She accepted he has an addiction to smoking and has mobility limitations. But she also found evidence -- including TV news footage -- that the man has been able to walk a relatively short distance from his unit to smoke.
He can also drive his car to another location where smoking is permitted, Harris said.