Osoyoos council is about to prohibit smoking in town parks and beaches.
Council gave third reading to a bylaw that does not allow a person to smoke in any park or trail unless a designated smoking area has been established for the purpose of a special event with the agreement of both the town and the event organizer. It is expected council will endorse the new bylaw at the next regular meeting on May 16.
“It has been accepted in a fairly positive way,” said Coun. CJ Rhodes. “We received very little input from the community at this point for or against it. I believe we got one letter of a resident speaking against the bylaw. Personally, I think it is beneficial to keep smoking-related litter down. Smoking and being in these beautiful parks just don’t go well together.”
Osoyoos CAO Barry Romananko said the bylaw will probably have a staged approach of compliance rather than immediate enforcement. Romanenko said there would be signs posted to remind people of the bylaw as well as handouts given out to people on the beach. The CAO added council will have to make the decision on staged approach of compliance at the May 16 meeting.
The City of Penticton parks and recreation advisory committee recommended that the city institute a smoking ban for its parks and beaches last year. Penticton council was presented a 26-name petition from the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life urging them to also institute a ban. After investigating and discussing the issue, the Penticton parks and recreation advisory committee said a no smoking bylaw may be unenforceable, as city officials found it difficult to enforce similar rules such as the littering bylaw. Instead, signs have been put up to educate people on the philosophy of no smoking on beaches.
The City of Kelowna implemented a no smoking bylaw in 2010.