Pitch to get butts off the waterfront

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By Nick Seebruch
Pitch to get butts off the waterfront
Karen Cooper and Patricia O'Hara lobby Council for a smoke free waterfront on behalf of the Great River Network on Tuesday, November 12, 2019. A jar of cigarette butts sits on the table in front of them (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Great River Network (GRN) made their pitch to Council for a smoke free waterfront trail at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Patricia O’Hara and Karen Cooper of the GRN asked council that the waterfront trail be designated a smoke free zone.

READ MORE: Great River Network requests smoke-free waterfront

To help enforce this smoke free policy, the GRN additionally asked for signage and urns to be posted at the entrance of the trails and that the trails become a part of By-Law officers’ usual patrol area.

O’Hara explained that one cigarette soaking in a body of water will release enough toxins to kill half the fish that come in contact with it after just four days.

She also pointed out that Brockville, Newmarket and all of Nova Scotia have smoke free trails.

The GRN’s proposal would include the bike path from Gray’s Creek, as well as Lamoureux Park, and the shoreline near the trails.

“I’m 100 per cent supportive of this initiative,” said Councillor Glen Grant. “It is amazing what they find in the river, and cigarette butts are a major problem with that.”

Councillor Todd Bennett, pointed to the results of St. Lawrence College’s smoke free policy. St. Lawrence College is along the waterfront trail.

“You can see that St. Lawrence College has a no smoking policy on their property, and look how it is just outside their property,” he said. “A few people who live on that trail have called me. They’re tired of having to pick up cigarette butts off of their lawn so their kids can go out and play.”

Councillor Elaine MacDonald felt that extra enforcement likely would not be necessary, but rather social pressure would ensure that the rules are enforced.

“There is so much peer pressure for stuff like this. This will soon become the norm, it will be just too embarrassing to break the rule,” she said.

Council received the presentation from the GRN and administration will take it into consideration when forming their official by-law on the smoking policy for the waterfront trail.

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