Park usage rules & accessibility

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The Parks and Public Spaces Bylaw sets out the regulations for the use of the City’s parks. 

Park accessibility

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.  

Smoke-free parks

Smoking is prohibited in all Kelowna parks, including beaches, trails, playgrounds, sports fields and stadiumsIt’s also prohibited to use e-cigarettes and cannabis in parks and public spaces. There are two bylaws regulating smoke-free parks and enforcement: 

The bylaws cover all areas within the city’s park boundaries, including access roads, parking lots, pathways, linear parks, beaches and buildings. 

Reason behind smoke-free parks

Were 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, which 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 per cent 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 per cent), 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 per cent) and smokers (71 per cent), and increased among smokers after the bylaw was implemented. 
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. 

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. 

Cannabis

As of Oct. 17, 2018, it's prohibited to use cannabis in parks and public spaces. 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. 

Smoking & vaping restrictions in other outdoor areas

There are currently no restriction on smoking or vaping on streets or sidewalks, provided it’s not within a recreation or park boundary, or within a minimum of three metres from 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. 

Bylaw compliance & enforcement

Kelowna Parks Services will focus on voluntary 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 

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 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?

If you see someone smoking or vaping within park boundaries, you 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?