Butting out in city parks

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September 9, 2014 10:31 AM

Lorelee Marin of the Lloydminster Action for Tobacco Reduction, Patrick Lancaster General Manager of Community and Cultural Services at the City of Lloydminster, Kim Tradewell of LATR, and Neil Harris LATR, pose in front of Bud Miller All Season Park's new playground, marking the first playground to be designated tobacco free in the city. - Christopher W. Brown Photo

The City of Lloydminster is partnering with the Lloydminster Action for Tobacco Reduction community group to get tobacco out of Lloydminster’s public parks.

Last week, the city and LATR unveiled their parks campaign aimed at ending smoking in public parks to help Lloydminster children grow healthy and active lives.

“Our community services team strives to provide and promote healthy lifestyles and recreation opportunities for residents,” said Patrick Lancaster, general manager of community and cultural services, at the unveiling. “(The city) encourages the community to access and use our parks, playgrounds and green spaces in a safe and responsible manner.”

Lorelee Marin, one of the members of the LATR, said that the partnership between the city and the organization is a great first step in getting kids healthier in the Border city.

“We are excited about the announcement today in launching tobacco free playgrounds in the city of Lloydminster.

“While the city does not have a bylaw right now against having tobacco in parks, it is something that we will be talking about in the future.”

Marin said that the program is just about encouraging people to get tobacco out of public parks, while having fun with the message.

“We just want to inform families about this should be a tobacco free environment,” said Marin. “This should be a good environment for children to play in.”

Marin said that the reason the signs read tobacco free instead of smoke free is because in the Western province the use of tobacco products is at the highest in all of Canada.

“We really wanted to promote being tobacco free, as being a healthy lifestyle choice. We have 40 per cent of all the tobacco sales in Canada, and the people in the community using those products we want them to be good models for our children.”

The Tobacco-Free Parks and Playground Project was initiated by LATR, who then began working with the city to receive the Alberta Tobacco Reduction Strategy Grant ($7,800) from Alberta Health Services.

“The Health Ministry funds that grant through Alberta Health Services, and what AHS does is look at communities that want to do projects that really want to promote the tobacco-free lifestyle, or might want to help residents quit smoking as well,” said Marin.

The city will install 250 signs across Lloydminster over the coming months.

Marin said that the LATR will evaluate the community response to this signage campaign and survey park visitors on the impact of the signage, before moving forward.

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