The town is considering changing the complete ban on smoking on rec centre grounds, and instead, establish designated smoking areas with receptacles.

At last night's committee-of-the-whole meeting, town council heard how the current bylaw in place for almost six years is inoperable and is actually doing more harm than good at the SLS Centre and Cochrane Arena.

Smoking remains prevalent at both rec facilities and in the absence of receptacles to guide smokers to an appropriate location, many smoke directly outside the entry doors, states a report submitted to council.

"When the receptacle is not available, it turns out to be a terrible experience for the visitors, it's a safety hazard and fire hazard, as well there are complaints from other facility users. It's very challenging to enforce and it ends up being an operations enforcement and turns into more conflict than anything."

The report included recommendations on where to place the smoking areas and all are at least five metres away from public entrances. It is believed the change would improve the experience of all rec centre users.

When the complete ban was put in place in 2017, the management of the centres identified it to be problematic and forewarned of the challenges it posed.

Town councillor Susan Flowers saw merit in the proposal and is aware of the conflict and issues the bylaw has caused.

"I really think we need to do something different because it's not working," said Flowers.

Councillor Marni Fedeyko expressed a similar belief, and none of the other councillors weighed in on the discussion.

Chair Alex Reed wrapped up the brief discussion by summarizing the current situation isn't working, and that the solution proposed is better than nothing.

In the past, Councillor Tara McFadden, who was not in attendance at last night's meeting, proposed to expand the ban far beyond the rec centre properties. In August 2018, she proposed completely banning all smoking and the use of electronic smoking devices (vaping) in the public eye.

The bylaw was originally established after being brought forward as a notice of motion in January 2017 by then-town councillor Jeff Toews.

When the bylaw was passed, at least one organization moved its event to another venue. The organizers of the annual spring darts tournament said about 30 per cent of their participants smoked or used inhalers and feared they would choose to opt-out.

The proposed bylaw amendment will return to council for formal deliberations.