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Wednesday December 17th, 2014

Posted at 10:00am

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This past spring, the Essex Region Essex Region Conservation Authority implemented the first phase of their smoke free outdoor policy at the John R. Park Homestead, Hillman Marsh and Holiday Beach Conservation Areas.

These areas became smoke free except for in designated areas.

Part of the first phase was the evaluation of the smoke free outdoor spaces policy to allow for recommendations before phase two was implemented. The evaluation was conducted through a cigarette butt analysis, review of public complaints, public surveys and staff surveys.

Some of the findings included that the implementation and enforcement of the policy had been a smooth process that had not resulted in any significant issues with compliance or significantly impacted ERCA staff workloads. They report that there were no complaints filed with the Park Watch Call Centre or received by either ERCA or Windsor Essex County Health Unit staff. In addition, staff have not issued any tickets/violations under the policy.

Just over a third of the survey respondents (36%) said that the smoking restrictions will mean that they will be more likely to use Conservation Areas in the future, and only three respondents (all smokers) said that they would be less likely to use conservation areas as a result of the policy.

They do report a high number of cigarette butts at Holiday Beach.

Based on their evaluation, ERCA is planning for phase two of its Smoke Free Outdoor Spaces policy to be implemented. Phase two will include additional signs being placed in remaining Conservation Areas.

In addition, ERCA plans to ensure its literature and signage is available at areas where cigarette butts have been found, and continue to speak with Holiday Beach visitors to ensure they are familiar with the policy.

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