Strata heads to B.C. Supreme Court to get senior smoker to butt out
CTV Vancouver
12 January 2016

Paul Aradi, an army veteran in his 70s, says he’s addicted to cigarettes, and has to smoke at home because of a disability. (CTV file photo)

A strata council’s fight to force a cigarette-addicted army veteran to quit lighting up in his condo opened Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court.

The council is seeking a court order against Langley senior Paul Aradi, claiming he’s been warned numerous times to abide by a smoking ban on the property that was passed in 2009.

But Aradi, who says he’s smoked for 50 of his 70-odd years, bought his condo years before the rule came into effect, and believes he should be free to do what he wants in his own home.

“I don’t think it’s anybody’s business,” he told CTV News last year.
On Tuesday, the strata’s lawyer, David Dahlgren, told the court that Aradi’s neighbours are worried how his secondhand smoke could affect their health.
The habit also poses a potential fire hazard, diminishes the value of the property, and is unpleasant to smell, Dahlgren added.

"There are units above his that smell smoke in their house while they're trying to enjoy watching TV or enjoying their patio. That's an unacceptable nuisance," he said.

Dahlgren said the strata is not telling Aradi not to stop consuming nicotine, just to stop smoking.

"You choose to get your nicotine through a cigarette. There are other ways to get it," he said. "You can have inhalers, gum, patches. You're not addicted to cigarettes, you're addicted to nicotine. And we're not going to suffer health effects because you have to smoke."

On Dec. 5, 2013, more than four years after the council passed its smoking ban, the strata started fining Aradi for smoking. He’s since racked up more than $2,300 in unpaid fines, according to court documents.

The strata has sued him in small claims court to recover those fines.

"It doesn't work. We've got at least 20 complaints. We're fining him. We're sending him complaints. We sent a cease and desist letter. It's not curbing his behavior. So now here we are," Dahlgren said.

Aradi wasn’t present at Tuesday’s court hearing, but his lawyer argued he’s unable to leave home and smoke elsewhere because of physical disabilities.
Paul Roxburgh also insists his client stopped smoking on his patio when the 2009 ban was passed, and has only smoked inside with the windows closed since.

The strata introduced photos of the senior puffing outdoors to argue his disability claim is a ruse, but Roxburgh said they show Aradi hanging onto a door, or a sign, to support himself, which confirms his mobility issues.
Roxburgh also argued the strata has never tried to find another solution for his client.

"The strata's position has been, 'We're going to try and force you out, we don't care,'" Roxburgh said.

Aradi has also responded the pressure to stop smoking at home by filing a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, which Roxburgh said is a better venue to clearly examine his disabilities and suggest proper ways to accommodate him.

"The issue is having his day in court. He doesn't feel that he's having is day in court in this process. We have another process under way," he said.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Jon Woodward

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