Health District wants tobacco-free Sunbury parks
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Delaware General Health District Development Officer Linda Diamond attended last Wednesday’s (January 16) Sunbury Village Council meeting to ask council members to make all village park and playground areas tobacco-free zones.
“We want tobacco free parks for our children in particular; a place to go where people can be healthy,” Diamond said. “Children, pets and wildlife easily get into discarded tobacco like cigarette butts — it’s everywhere, and hard to control.”
Diamond said two years ago New York City went to tobacco free parks and beaches.
“They put up signs and people are complying without any problem,” Diamond said. “There are 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches in New York, and also pedestrian plazas like Times Square, that are tobacco free.”
Diamond also noted that many Major League Baseball, National Football League and college football stadiums are tobacco free. Closer to home in Delaware County, Diamond said Preservation Parks sites, Liberty Township parks and fields, and Powell playgrounds and shelters are all tobacco free zones.
“This isn’t to tell people not to smoke, just not to smoke in parks and near children,” Diamond said. “There’s harm from secondhand smoke, even in outdoor spaces, and it’s important that children don’t see tobacco use and think it’s the norm.”
Diamond said tobacco litter is hazardous to children and wildlife; that children can be poisoned by the ingestion of cigarette butts. She noted that Americans discard more than 175,000,000 pounds of cigarette butts every year. Within an hour of contact with water cigarette butts can begin leaching chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into the marine environment.
Diamond said the health district would design and purchase signs if the village legislates tobacco-free parks.
In other business, Council member Tom Zalewski said something must be done about residents parking along village streets and especially around Village Square during snow emergencies.
“They’re all around the square,” Zalewski said. “If they’re parked there during a snow emergency put a tag on him, take them to the dog pound. We’ve just got to start stepping on somebody.”
Village solicitor David Brehm said he thought there was good compliance when temporary signs were put up during snow removal.
“I want to look at a more formal resolution to parking during snow emergencies,” Brehm added. “I’d like to see something with more teeth in the books.”
Council members approved Resolution 2012–18, a resolution in support of the Big Walnut Watershed Balanced Growth Plan that’s part of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s Watershed Planning Partnership.
Council members approved Ordinance 2012–20 that would reduce resident’s overdue income tax interest to 8 percent; and approved Ordinance 2012–21, the annual agreement with the Regional Income Tax Authority, a.k.a. RITA.
Council members also approved Ordinance 2012–22, the ODNR fisheries management program at the villages up-ground reservoirs.
Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield reminded everyone that the open council seat must be filled by the end of January. He said he has one resume from an interested candidate. If anyone is interested in filling the seat contact the village administration office for additional information.
The next Sunbury Village Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, in third floor council chambers, Sunbury Town Hall.