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Fines increase for smoking, vaping in Coquitlam parks as heatwave looms

With warmer, dryer temperatures coming to Coquitlam this summer, the city is boosting enforcement and increasing fines for smokers who disobey the rules.
web1_lake-at-mundy-park-by-diane-strandberg-tri-city-news
Lost Lake in Mundy Park, Coquitlam, is a popular spot to watch for endangered painted turtles. Diane Strandberg/Tri-City News photo.

Coquitlam is cracking down on smoking in city parks just as a spring heatwave arrives to create record-breaking dry conditions.

Temperatures are expected to rise into the high 20s this week before a potential cooling and wet trend toward the end of the week.

Fines are increasing from $150 to $500 for anyone caught vaping or smoking, including cannabis and tobacco.

As well, the city is ramping up enforcement to deter smokers from lighting up in its neighbourhood parks.

“Not only is smoking, including e-cigarettes and cannabis, banned in city parks, but the fine — normally $150 — increases to $500 during summer months (June 1 – September 30) due to heightened fire risk,” the city states in a press release.

The city’s Smoking Control Bylaw No. 3037, 1996, states that no one is allowed to smoke in any of the city’s parks at any time.

Littering of cigarette butts on the ground or by throwing one out of a vehicle window can also result in a fine of $150.

Enforcement increases

Coquitlam Bylaw Enforcement Officers will increase their patrols of parks by foot and on e-bike during summer months and offenders may be ticketed.

Fires are also not permitted in city parks.

“Residents and park visitors should take precautions against accidental fires and be alert to signs of fire. Report any signs of smoke or fire by calling 9-1-1 immediately,” the city further states.

To report a bylaw complaint, such as someone smoking in a park, please call Bylaw Enforcement at 604-927-3580 or email bylawenforcement@coquitlam.ca.

The warning comes as wildfire risk increases across the country.

Here are some other ways to reduce risk of fire:

  • Do not have open fires or conduct outdoor burning.
  • Relocate combustible debris or firewood at least 10 metres away from your home.
  • Keep roofs and gutters clear of dead needles; prune branches that hang over any roof.
  • Reduce the amount of debris around your home; prune shrubs, remove dead and dry vegetation and tree limbs 2-3 metres from the ground.
  • Reduce the chance of fire spreading to your home by breaking up vegetation and tree canopies so they don’t create a line leading to your home.
  • Be aware when mowing your lawn that if the blade comes into contact with a rock, it can cause a spark that may ignite a fire.
  • Ensure your vehicle’s exhaust does not emit onto a dry lawn.
  • Watch for bans on using barbeques.

Please visit coquitlam.ca/SummerFireSafety for more details and information on preventing fires during the summer months.