Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Cold Lake Youth Council requests no smoking signs for public spaces

For the Lakeland Regional.

More no smoking signs may be coming to public spaces in Cold Lake

The City of Cold Lake could be cracking down on smokers ignoring the public spaces bylaws – at least if the youth have anything to say about it.

Two members of the Cold Lake Youth Council appeared before city council on May 24 to request no smoking signs be put up in a number of public spaces. They’re hoping to remind citizens of Cold Lake’s smoking bylaws.

Kamryn Smith and Patricia Feng explained to council that a survey they took of fellow students and parents showed widespread irritation with smokers in public spaces. The youth council would like to see something done about it.

“We went out into the skate park and everyone we asked said they really hated how everybody was smoking at it,” said Smith. “The fact is that we have our big airshow coming up and we have a lot of people coming to Cold Lake. I feel that it would be a good tourist attraction if we were working with the law.”

Feng added that she would like to see more signs around not just the skate park, but also along Kinosoo Beach and the splash park.

“The problem is that some of the youth don’t actually realize that this is actually not allowed,” pointed out Feng. “Ignorance is no excuse.”

Currently, smoking within five metres of a public space in Cold Lake is punishable with a minimum $250 fine.

Feng said that the smoking was one thing, but the fact that smokers tend to leave their cigarette butts where they finish them wasn’t helping either.

“When you smell it, you just don’t want to be there,” added Feng. “There have been cigarette butts found at the beach.”

Smith echoed concern about discarded cigarettes around town.

“If you have little kids or babies playing at the beach, they like to put new things in their mouths,” commented Smith, adding that dogs and cats are also at risk of discarded litter.

Mayor Craig Copeland expressed his admiration for the youth council’s presentation and said that their request would be taken for further consideration.

“The youth delegation had a great idea. They’re making council aware that we have a problem in that we don’t have enough signage,” commented Copeland. “We’ll bring it in front of council at the next meeting and make some decisions on whether we fund it right away or push it to budget deliberations in the fall.”

He also mentioned that the city currently has five bylaw officers who are able to issue out fines should the need arise.

“We can make it a priority,” mentioned Copeland. “I don’t think it’s a very big ask.”

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