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Should our festivals, events and city parks be smoke-free?

Staff reviewing in 2013

The Sound of Music Festival
The Sound of Music Festival

In response to requests from residents over the years, city staff will be reviewing the possibility of making all Burlington’s events and parks cigarette smoke-free areas.

Currently, Sound of Music, Canada Day and Ribfest offer voluntary designated smoking areas that are identified with signage that encourages visitors to smoke only in these areas. There is no enforcement.

Staff will conduct a review of municipalities that currently enforce smoke free events, and subject to the outcome of the review; it is the intention to have all events smoke free in 2014.

Staff will bring a separate report by the end of 2013 on smoke-free parks for consideration by council’s Community Services Committee. The process will include input from the Health Department and public.

Staff have reviewed the practises of other municipalities and provided some initial findings as part of their report on upcoming festivals and events this year.

• In 2012 Oakville approved a ban on smoking within nine metres of where children play including: playgrounds, play fields, splash pads, tennis courts,
basketball courts, outdoor pools, skateboard parks. The ban is enforced under the existing Parks By-law which makes it an offence to smoke in parks where No Smoking signage is posted. Staff from the town has advised that there are challenges with the enforcement of this By-law because of limited resources.

• Halton Hills and Milton have indicated that they are waiting for the province and the Health Department to take the lead on smoke-free parks and do not have plans to develop a By-law.

• At this time the Health Department does not plan on bringing forward a smoke-free parks by-law, however the Health Department will support municipalities in enacting a Smoke-Free Park By-law.

• In all cases, smoke-free events are supported by a Smoke-Free Park Bylaw.

My Take: I’m supportive of restricting smoking in parks, to ensure clean air for everyone and cut down on littering and the chance of small children picking up and ingesting discarded cigarette butts.

Your View: Do you support a smoking ban on city parks? Let me know with a comment below or email me at

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

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