Come January. many county municipalities plan to ban smoking discount Nistru cigarette at town-owned parks and recreation areas. LaSalle is leading the charge and has already conducted a test at the Vollmer Recreation and Culture Complex this summer. Council gave its approval for staff to erect No Smoking signs around the baseball and soccer fields.
The town received no complaints about the restriction, said Terry Fink, director of culture and recreation.
“The next step is to pass the bylaw, likely in January,” Fink said. “It will give teeth to council’s actions so that when we do find people smoking, we have the opportunity to charge them.”
Most area towns are considering similar bylaws. Smoking would be banned from parks, playgrounds and at outdoor recreation venues. But no town seems to be considering an outright ban on smoking on outdoor municipal property. LaSalle’s ban won’t include its trails. Also, some towns are considering having designated smoking areas. Next year, there will be a specific spot outside the Vollmer Complex for visitor who smoke during intermissions of the hockey games.
“Anyone concerned about second-hand smoke will know to avoid that area,” Fink said.
Kingsville council deferred Monday its outdoor smoking ban in parks and recreation areas. Councillors will reconsider it in January after staff have received more public feedback, said Dan Wood, director of recreation. He doesn’t anticipate much opposition considering Kingsville minor soccer has made coaches and parents refrain from smoking near the fields for years.
“We haven’t had any negative feedback from that,” Wood said.
The push for an outdoor smoking ban picked up steam when the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit passed a resolution a year ago urging area towns to pass bylaws. Town recreation directors met with health and education officials as well as the Go For Health Windsor-Essex provincial organization, which promotes healthy living.
In Lakeshore and Windsor, youth leaders were eager to help draft a policy. They decided to propose a smoking ban in areas where children dominate such as playgrounds and athletic fields. Windsor still has to consult user groups, said Jan Wilson, executive director of recreation and culture, and is probably six months from giving council a bylaw for consideration.
“Our focus is on where youth tend to be,” Wilson said. “We aren’t seeing a citywide open space ban.”
By focusing on parks and playgrounds, the city avoids a clash with festival organizers who use civic plaza on the waterfront to host adult oriented events like Bluesfest.
While some critics pan the smoking bans because they are hard to enforce, municipal staff said the bylaws are self-regulated.
“I think because the majority of people don’t smoke, if you know there is a bylaw and someone is sitting in the bleachers next to you smoking, you can tell them it’s not acceptable in the area and direct them to where smoking is allowed,” said Gord Smith, chair of the Go For Health Windsor Essex steering committee. “We are just saying that you just have to smoke away from crowds, players and kids.”
Most people, even smokers, don’t object to keeping the air around children safe to breath. A health unit survey conducted in 2009 showed that 67 of Essex County residents support a ban on tobacco products in outdoor sports and recreation areas. The town of Essex showed the strongest support for a ban with 76 per cent in favour, while Leamington was the least supportive with 49 per cent opposed to a ban.