With the legalization of recreational cannabis, many municipalities including Westmount and Hampstead have banned smoking in public places.
“It protects our kids, and it protects gatherings in parks,” opposition city councilor for Snowdon Marvin Rotrand told Global News. “People just want to relax in parks. They don’t want to be inaccommodated by someone else’s unwanted fumes.”
Rotrand wants Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce to follow that trend so he tabled a motion at a borough council meeting on Monday night to make it happen.
“It’s a growing movement in Canada,” he said. “Vancouver, Saskatoon, Halifax and others have done the same thing.”
But his motion was not adopted.
“We believe, allowing people to smoke in a park, over 50 metres from other people, quietly, is the best solution for the moment,” said NDG city Coun. Peter McQueen.
McQueen says the dangers of smoking in an apartment are much higher than at a park and smoke from someone on the street can easily enter someone’s home.
Others, like Richenda Grazette, head of communications at Head & Hands, a community organization that works with youth, say a ban would unfairly restrict free access to public spaces.
“Smokers who don’t want to smoke inside or have access to a balcony or private backyard — parks are really the space where they can smoke more freely.”
She also said some people would be targeted more than others.
“It becomes an issue of surveillance. “Who gets cited and it kind of increases the risk of youth and people with less power in our neighbourhood being singled out a bit more by law enforcement.”
But Rotrand isn’t done yet.
“What I’m announcing is the formation of a clean air coalition.”
He wants to keep pushing the issue and thinks it’s only a matter of time before the ban is applied island-wide.