Don’t light up – or even vape – in parks

Parks at high risk for fires during hot, dry weather

Lighting up a cigarette or even an e-cigarette in a Coquitlam park could be costly this summer.

The city is reminding residents that during the warmer, drier months, fines are increased from the normal $150 to $500 due to the heightened fire risk.

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So far, one person has been issued a ticket but Andrea McDonald, the city’s manager of bylaws and animal control services, said officers will be patrolling throughout the summer. 

“I would say that at a majority of the parks people are quite good about understanding that they shouldn’t be smoking,” she told The Tri-City News on Tuesday. “There are still pockets of areas that are challenging.”

One of those areas is around the Coquitlam River.

The trails and green spaces are enclosed by larger trees while dry grass and brush cover a lot of the ground, which are ingredients for a potential blaze, McDonald said.

While bylaw officers, city staff and fire officials will be out in force issuing tickets, she added that even their presence is often enough to deter would-be smokers.

“It’s like how you slow down when you see a police car,” she said. “When you see a bylaw officer, you will follow the rules. You can see them from a fair distance away and the outcome is still compliance, which is what we really want.”

Fines increase from the normal $150 to $500 after June 1, or when the fire rating goes to “high.” For more information about seasonal safety tips, go to www.coquitlam.ca/seasonalsafety. 

In Port Moody, the fine for smoking in a city park is $500 regardless of the time of year. So far, no fines have been issued in PoMo in 2017. 

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

@gmckennaTC

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