Parks for all

Park accessibility

In 2017, we completed an assessment of City Parks and Buildings as they relate to age and ability friendly design. For information about the accessibility and age-friendly amenities of Kelowna's parks and buildings, please refer to People in Motion's Accessibility Guide

Parks are drone-free zones

Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), such as drones, have become increasingly visible in parks and open spaces across Canada. However, UAV flights can pose safety and privacy risks in public areas such as parks and near flight landing areas such as Okanagan Lake.

As per the Parks and Public Spaces Bylaw No. 11023, Section 3.42: no person shall release or land a hot air balloon or passenger balloon, or operate an unmanned aircraft, drone or a model aircraft in a Park without a permit. 

Commercial drone usage can be approved as part of the Outdoor Events Permit with the following requirements:

  • Valid Kelowna Business License
  • Comprehensive General Liability insurance no less than $2 million
  • Site survey as submitted to NAV Canada and corresponding event site map if applicable
  • Copy of Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada

Smoke-free parks

Kelowna beaches and parks are smoke-free. The Parks & Public Spaces Bylaw smoke-free bylaw prohibits smoking in all Kelowna parks, including beaches, trails, playgrounds, sports fields and stadiums. This includes prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and, as of Oct. 17, 2018, cannabis in parks and public spaces.

Answers to questions about our smoke-free parks
Why smoke-free parks?

We are doing our part to contribute to a smoke-free society. Neighbouring communities of West Kelowna and the Regional District of Central Okanagan have smoke-free parks and beaches. As well, hundreds of communities across Canada and around the world have embraced similar restrictions or bans on smoking in public outdoor spaces. 

Healthy living and care for the environment have driven the initiative. It is supported by the Interior Health Authority, the Canadian Cancer Society and the majority of Kelowna residents.

Healthy living

  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada
  • There is no safe level of second-hand smoke. Harmful particles can be carried up to seven meters in outdoor settings
  • Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of second-hand smoke
  • Smoking restrictions decrease negative role modelling for children. 
  • Smoking restrictions can increase the motivation for smokers to quit

Care for the environment

  • Discarded smoking materials can lead to fire in parks
  • Toxins released by discarded smoking materials can seep into soil and water, affecting plant and animal life  

Public support

  • In a 2008 survey of British Columbia residents, the Canadian Cancer Society found that 75% of Kelowna residents support regulations to prohibit smoking at parks and playgrounds.
  • According to B.C. Healthy Communities, most British Columbians do not smoke (86%), so a smoke free outdoor bylaw aligns with community norms. The organization further states that there is support for smoke free outdoor bylaws across Canada. In one study, bylaws were supported by both non-smokers (93%) and smokers (71%), and increased among smokers after the bylaw was implemented.
What are e-cigarettes?

An "e-cigarette" (electronic cigarettes or personal vaporizer) simulates the look and feel of a conventional cigarette and uses a battery to heat a liquid solution, producing a visible, vapour emission that may produce an odour depending on the flavour of the liquid used. "Vaping" is inhaling or exhaling an e-cigarette.

Why were e-cigarettes included in the bylaw?

On March 5, 2015, the Province of B.C. tabled legislation that will prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 19 years, and they will be prohibited indoors and in the same locations as tobacco. 

The inclusion of e-cigarettes in the bylaw was supported by the Interior Health Authority. View their  Letter of Support  as to why e-cigarettes should be prohibited in parks.

What about cannabis?

To conform with provincial regulations, the same City Bylaws  that currently apply to smoking or vaping in public areas will also apply to smoking cannabis. Smoking is not permitted in parks, public spaces and within six metres of doorways (Provincial regulation). This includes sidewalk patios and bus shelters.

Learn more on the Cannabis production, sale & use webpage.

What do the bylaws say?

The two bylaws regulating smoke-free parks and enforcement are as follows:

What areas does the bylaw cover?

All areas within City of Kelowna park boundaries including access roads, parking lots, pathways, linear parks, beaches and buildings.

Is smoking or vaping allowed anywhere?

There is currently no restriction to smoking or vaping on streets or sidewalks, provided it is not within a recreation or park boundary, or within a minimum of three meters of doorways, windows or air intakes as outlined in the British Columbia Tobacco Control Act. Smoking and vaping are also prohibited at transit shelters and bus stops.

How will people know to not smoke or vape in parks?

We are focusing on voluntary bylaw compliance through education. 

  • Public education
  • Park Ambassadors (summer months)
  • City of Kelowna website
  • Media
  • Park & Beach initiatives
  • Community partners: Tourism Kelowna, Downtown Kelowna Association 
  • Limited signage when available
  • Bylaw enforcement officers
How will the bylaw be enforced?

Kelowna Parks Services will focus on voluntary compliance through education. Due to the size and nature of Kelowna’s park system (approximately 200 parks covering 900 hectares), signage may not be available, but the bylaw is still in effect. Where enforcement is required, City of Kelowna bylaw enforcement officers have the authority to issue tickets to offenders. The maximum fine for smoking in a park or other regulated outdoor space is $100.

What should I do if I see someone smoking or vaping in a park?

Any person using a park or beach who sees individuals smoking or vaping within park boundaries may inform them politely that a Kelowna bylaw forbids smoking and vaping in public parks. You may also report a violation by phoning Kelowna Bylaw Enforcement at 250-469-8686.

Where can I find more information?