People smoking in Beaconsfield will soon have to watch where they step. The West Island community is set to ban smoking in nearly all public outdoor spaces.
“Any public place, whether it be a parking lot, the rec center, whether it be parks or anything like this, we will be prohibiting not only tobacco smoking but smoking of any kind,” Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle told Global News.
Provincial rules already dictate people can’t smoke near sports fields or playgrounds, but Beaconsfield is taking things a step further by eliminating smoking from all parks and parking lots.
“Our bylaw will allow streets and sidewalks, but you have to be nine metres away from any school or any public places,” Bourelle explained.
A motion to amend Beaconsfield’s anti-smoking bylaw was presented at council on Monday evening.
Some local residents attending the meeting were not happy with the new restrictions.
“When are we going to stop restricting personal freedoms?” wondered Toni Lemieux. “There has to be a balance between public safety and personal freedoms.”
In March, Hampstead banned smoking on all municipal property including streets and sidewalks. Beaconsfield did not go quite that far.
READ MORE: Hampstead passes strict anti-smoking bylaw
“I’d rather you smoke in the park because on the sidewalk, you might meet some people who are bothered by it,” said Beaconsfielder Gadirou Diakite.
Although Beaconsfield wants to ban all forms of smoking on public property, there is one particular type of smoking that is driving this change.
“We don’t want cannabis to be smoked in areas there could be children, in areas it could be disturbing to other residents who don’t smoke cannabis,” Bourelle said, explaining his city is preparing for federal cannabis legalization.
“I would come on side with that,” said John Barkwith, a member of the Beaconsfield Lawn Bowling Club. “I don’t particularly like the idea of promoting marijuana and glorifying it and stuff like that.”
Cannabis legalization was one of the reasons Pierrefonds cited when it banned smoking in its parks in April.
The new rules are set to be passed at the next Beaconsfield council meeting on July 9.