If you spark up in a park expect to pay up.
Keremeos council voted unanimously to adopt a bylaw that bans smoking in all public parks in Keremeos on Monday. The ban takes effect immediately.
“We’ve talked about this at length. It makes sense when we are promoting a healthy lifestyle and we have a new playground, and new workout equipment and a pool that we don’t want people smoking in our parks,” Mayor Manfred Bauer said.
In addition to health, the village also considered fire hazards.
Riparian Park, along the dike, was closed this summer because of a high risk a cigarette flung into the grass could start a fire. A fire in that area has the possibility to spread and reach nearby homes in a hurry.
Signs notifying users of the parks that the ban is now in effect are expected to be put up within the next few days.
Several signs will go up at Memorial Park and others will go up near the entrance to Riparian Park and Pine Park.
“It’s really time that we start educating people about this. There are a lot of other communities that ban smoking in public parks so it’s not like we are starting from scratch,” he said.
“This is a better time of year to start this so we can work at this slowly. It’s heading into winter so there are less people out there. We want to educate people that they can no longer smoke in parks. We aren’t looking at this as a money maker.”
The fine, if caught lighting up in a public park, is $100. That goes for people who use vapes as well.
Vapes are often used by those trying to quit smoking and is a liquid that is vapourized and inhaled by users using a pipe type object.
Tickets for the offence can be handed out by the village’s bylaw officer, the RCMP and the village’s CAO Marg Coulson.
Coulson’s desk in the office has a view of Memorial Park.
“Our priority here is to really educate people that this is not allowed anymore,” he said.