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Red Deer looks at banning smoking in parks

Protecting children at outdoor spaces and facilities from the harms of smoking will be up for discussion during Monday’s Red Deer city council meeting.

City council will consider giving first reading to amending the Smoke Free Bylaw.

Earlier this year, the city received three requests from members of the public regarding expanding the bylaw to further protect children.

Concerns centred on places where food is offered and at events children are likely to be at, such as farmers’ markets, street festivals and sporting events.

As well, there’s a call for smoking to be banned at outdoor places like playgrounds, sports fields and outdoor facilities.

Coun. Tara Veer also asked administration to include cannabis, hashish, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and herbal products into the mix.

Should council move forward with amending the bylaw, administration suggests three potential impacts that must be looked at as well.

Cost of signs could be significant. If signs were put up in every playground and sports field, the estimated cost is about $90,000 for 1,200 signs at $75 a sign, plus ongoing maintenance. The current Parks Department practice is that signs are only installed on a needed basis, which could drop that number to considerably less. Administration could also change the sign design to cut costs.

A public awareness campaign would also be important. Avenues for informing the public include Facebook and the City of Red Deer’s webpage. Estimated cost is about $5,000.

Administration reports that the bylaw offence of smoking within a 10-metre setback to designated areas is considered transient in nature, therefore making it challenging to enforce.



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