Cornwall council passes smoking, vaping ban in city parks, waterfront trail

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The City of Cornwall has gone ahead with banning smoking and vaping in all city parks, within 20 meters (66 feet) of recreational facilities and the entire waterfront trail.

The vote Monday night was in the majority with Couns. Dean Hollingsworth, Eric Bergeron and Maurice Dupelle voting against the plan.

“I’m not going to support this motion under any circumstances. I’m just not on board,” Hollingsworth said, noting there’s a litter bylaw from the 1990s that would cover cigarette butts along the waterfront trail but it’s not being enforced.

Hollingsworth objected to passing another law when the city can’t seem to enforce laws already on the books.

Seemingly tongue in cheek, Hollingsworth added that if this was about protecting the environment then there should be a law banning drinking from plastic water bottles along the waterfront trail next to the river.

Coun. Glen Grant says smoking and littering is a “mindset” and “if you don’t talk about it people will not start thinking about it.”

A number of councillors asked Monday night about how the law would be enforced.

It’s not expected to cost the bylaw department any more money to enforce the rule because Recreation General Manager Mark Boileau says it’s an expanded law, not a new law. The previous distance for smoking near public places was 9 meters (30 feet) but the province updated the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to a distance of 20 meters (66 feet) from public places.

“Really, it’s for all of the public to also play a role,” Boileau said, alluding to Coun. Elaine MacDonald’s comment during a previous council meeting about enforcement through peer pressure.

“People get educated over the course of years and eventually they’ll comply and if not, well, they’ll be outsiders,” Coun. MacDonald said Monday night.

As for how many people have been ticketed under the existing rules, staff couldn’t give any specific numbers to council.

A bylaw will be coming back to a future council meeting to be passed.