Article by David Lea, Oakville Beaver via Inside Halton
The Town of Oakville is updating its parks bylaw to make sure local parks continue to be smoke free.
The amendment, which was passed by Oakville’s community services committee on Monday, June 17, will place the same restrictions on vaping and cannabis smoking currently in place for tobacco smoking.
The bylaw essentially bans vaping and cannabis smoking from all parks and recreational facilities as well as any area where “children tend to congregate.”
It should also be noted that the province’s Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) 2017 makes it illegal to smoke tobacco, cannabis and use an electronic cigarette/vape within all recreational facilities and within 20 metres of the property lines.
This act also states smoking/vaping cannot take place within 20 metres of playgrounds and sporting areas including spectator areas.
Under this act smoking/vaping is also not permitted within nine metres of a restaurant or bar patio and within 20 metres of a school property.
Town staff said a restriction on smoking tobacco, cannabis and vaping in public parks and trails promotes a healthy community lifestyle, protects people from second-hand smoke, helps smokers reduce or consider quitting altogether, reduces the visibility of smoking, making it less socially acceptable to children and youth, reduces litter, decreases negative role modelling for children and decreases the chance of fire.
The Halton Region health department has 12 inspectors proactively looking for smoking violations at schools and stores and two inspectors who enforce Smoke-Free Ontario Act complaints including at parks and restaurants.
Town staff said occasional enforcement from town municipal enforcement officers while they are engaged in duties within town parks can also be expected.
The committee also voted to begin looking into licensing options for businesses selling vaping products.
“The goal of licensing is to address issues related to public health and safety, consumer protection, nuisance control and the general well-being of persons,” said John Mattocks of the town’s municipal enforcement services.