No smoking considered for all Cornwall parks, entire waterfront trail

In this photo from a City of Cornwall council agenda, red hash marks outline the areas of Lamoureux Park where smoking isn't allowed under recent changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. City council will consider banning smoking in the entire park -- and all city parks -- on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. (City of Cornwall via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – What started as a request to make a portion of the waterfront trail a smoke-free area has morphed again and the city it now looking at making all city parks and the entire trail system a no smoking, no vaping zone.

In a report to council for Monday’s meeting, Recreation and Facilities Manager Jamie Fawthrop says staff met with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit about the provincial smoking law, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

The meeting followed a presentation to council on Nov. 12 by Patricia O’Hara and Karen Cooper of the Great River Network.

“The EOHU confirmed that the recent changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act now restrict smoking within 20m (66 feet) of the grounds of community recreational facilities, where previously the restriction only designated areas within 9m (30 feet) of building entrances as smoke-free,” Fawthrop writes.

Since 20 meters from many of the facilities (Civic Complex, Curling Club, Aquatic Center) overlap many areas of Lamoureux Park, and many of the city’s other parks have splash pads, outdoor pools, tennis courts and other recreational facilities, the city thinks it will be simpler for all to ban all smoking in all parks.

“Considering that the amenities listed are located within City Parks, and the specified 20m setback, it may be less confusing for the public to simply designate all City Parks as smoke free,” Fawthrop writes.

“Therefore Administration recommends that all of Lamoureux Park, including Legion Park (baseball fields) also be designated as smoke-free zones, in addition to the entire Waterfront Trail and any areas within 20m of the Waterfront Trail within the City’s limits,” he said.

The only exemption would be the patio at the RCAF Wing because it’s considered a private establishment and not subject to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Cornwall’s plan would mirror the City of Brockville, Russell Township and The Nation, where there’s no smoking in any municipal park.

Putting up the no smoking signs along the waterfront trail and around the city parks will cost $20,000.

As for enforcing it, city staff have said they won’t be actively enforcing the law. Coun. Elaine MacDonald has previously said it will be up to other park users to peer pressure smokers into butting out.

According to the Great River Network, which made the original request, roughly 30 per cent of people in Cornwall smoke.