New rules regarding children in leash-free zones and smoking in parks are now in effect in Mississauga

 

If you spend a lot of time in parks in Mississauga, you should note that some new rules are now in effect. 

On Sept. 16, Mississauga city council approved an updated parks bylaw that will restrict young children from entering leash-free zones, ban smoking and vaping and prohibit hate speech during gatherings and events. 

"As Mississauga continues to grow and evolve, updates to the parks bylaw are necessary for the city to effectively continue administering and enforcing all park-related activities and programs," said Jodi Robillos, Director, Parks, Forestry and Environment, in a statement. 

"This also ensures that all park users are clearly made aware and understand what is and isn't allowed in our parks. More importantly, it brings more safety measures for the public so that our parks can continue to be used and enjoyed by everyone."

As for what new rules are in effect, the city says that children under 12 years of age are not allowed to enter leash-free zones—a rule the city has been considering since a 2018 attack on a three-year-old girl.

The city also says that commercial dog walkers with an approved permit can only use leash-free zones Monday to Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

The updated bylaw also reminds visitors that smoking and vaping in public outdoor spaces is prohibited, so residents who vape or smoke should avoid lighting up in a public green space.

The city also says that parks will officially open at dawn rather than at 7 a.m., but that they will still close at 11 p.m. 

As far as food trucks and vendors are concerned, the bylaw states that no one can sell food or drink from a park vendor vehicle unless a valid park vendor permit is prominently displayed. The city might also require a vendor to move from his or her designated spot for various reasons and will provide the operator with five days notice. 

The city also says buskers who wish to perform in parks must carry their permit with them at all times and only busk at pre-determined, designated busking areas as set out by the city's SaugaBusks program.

The bylaw has also laid out some rules around kites, specifying that no one can fly a kite with a string made of metal, wire, piano wire, fishing line, or any type of nylon that can be or is chemically treated or coated with glass particles. Residents are also prohibited from flying a kite within 25 metres of any tree, building, light pole, or hydro pole. Kites cannot be flown "competitively" without a permit and they cannot be discarded in the park after use. 

The bylaw also states that people and businesses must obtain permits in order to carry out commercial photo or video shoots or hold fitness classes. 

As far as hate or disruptive speech is concerned, the bylaw says park visitors cannot engage in "riotous, boisterous, violent, threatening, or illegal activity, or use profane or abusive language, which includes hatred against an identifiable group. Visitors also cannot engage in any activity that may cause injury or damage to any person, animal, tree, property, or park amenity.

The bylaw also prohibits the use of fireworks without a permit, the release of balloons, and the operation of a remote-controlled aircraft, rocket, watercraft, drones or vehicle in some areas. 

The bylaw also states that visitors can not erect any structures, including tents meant to act as temporary homes or shelters, without permission. 

The bylaw also sets out rules around fishing in parks and provides information on what different modes of transportation (bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, etc) can be used in park and trail systems.

The bylaw states that anyone caught violating the rules could face a fine of no more than $15,000 for his or her first offence. A subsequent conviction could come with a fine of up to $30,000.

To learn more, view the updated parks bylaw.

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