Smoke-Free Parks: Part Two

There, reports Community Services Director Bob McFarland, the city has a program that is successful and stringent.

“First, you must understand that ‘Smoke-Free Ontario’ implemented province-wide regulations to prohibit smoking in any indoor facility regularly used by the public, including stores, bars and restaurants, as well as all recreation facilities,” he says.

The non-smoking regulations also include all “company” vehicles, including all city-owned vehicles. So the city had the province’s support.

McFarland says that more than two years ago, with the guidance and help of the Oxford County Board of Health, Woodstock adopted more stringent rules concerning smoking near recreation facilities and equipment. It is now illegal to smoke within 9 meters (about 30 feet) of any entrance to a public building, including hospitals, schools, arenas and pools. Smoking is also prohibited within 15 meters (50 feet) of any outdoor sports field and within 30 meters (100 feet) of any playground.

“The rate of compliance with these new regulations has been excellent,” he says. “The purpose of by-laws and regulations is not to fine people for breaking a regulation; it is to encourage compliance with a regulation that is seen to be reflective of community standards. Given the lack of complaints and the number of positive comments received over the past year, I would say that people in our area are ready to ‘butt out.’”

I like the slogan, and I think Bob’s success story exemplifies what I stated earlier–there has to be active public initiative and desire for something like this to work. It really is an uphill battle to change people’s minds.

But this probably doesn’t make our northeastern city staff and volunteers feel any better. So, as we speak, I’m starting to work on a song called “Public Recreator Blues,” and maybe get it on iTunes so we all will have something to sing next time we are engaged in a time-consuming and emotional project that doesn’t really die, but just fades away.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, is Director of Leisure Services (parks, recreation, library) in Peachtree City, Ga. Contact him at (770) 631-2542 or e-mail

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Related posts:

  1. Building A Case For Smoke-Free Parks
  2. Long-Winded Debate
  3. An Even Playing Field
  4. A Necessary Equal
  5. Parks & Hypergrowth, Part 1

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