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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 marianne.meedward@burlington.ca.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.


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  1. I am more in favour of an alcohol ban at all events, as these ‘beer tents’ take up much needed space for non drinking citizens especially families with small children. The sound of music of 2012 was a disaster with too much space given to alcohol consumers and us sober fans were made to feel second class to their prime spots and fenced off areas. I was not bothered by one cigarette smoker last year at any city event. This to me is a non issue but the alcohol is.

    • Simply remove the beer gardens and allow people to drink their beer
      anywhere they want on the site. It works in other major festivals
      elsewhere in Canada, so why do we restrict space for beer gardens in
      Burlington? All waiters need to have their Smart Serve and a security
      person could ID people when walking in the ticket line up and stamp them
      once to confirm they are of legal age to drink. I think that
      restricting people to beer gardens is a stupid idea. I waited more than 1
      hours last year to be herded in a stupid beer garden. When I went to
      Calgary I walked around with my beer freely on the festival grounds and
      there were no problems, same thing in Vancouver and in Montreal. So why
      do we need beer gardens?! The city is losing revenue from people who
      just walk out and go drink in the parking lots and I saw a lot of those
      last summer. Let the adults drink where they want and put the police in
      the parking lots to watch for under aged drinking and drugs! Simple
      solution to a real problem!

What's your take?