On Tuesday, Kathleen Burton, executive director of the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, tweeted about the cigarette butt infestation at the park and shared a photo of two butts she’d found on the ground while eating lunch. (Kathleen Burton/Twitter)

Smoking at Swan Lake is illegal, but that isn’t stopping people

Park staff took to Twitter to remind residents cigarettes cause fires, can be ingested by animals

Cigarette butts are nuisance at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary and staff are fed up.

On Tuesday, Kathleen Burton, executive director of the Nature Sanctuary, took to Twitter to spread the word about the cigarette butt infestation at the park.

In the tweet, she pointed out that smoking or vaping any substance is illegal in the park thanks to a Saanich bylaw. She also noted that smoking it is “bad for your health [and] could start a fire.” The responses to her tweet came from folks who agreed that the issue was exasperating. One person suggested the problem was caused by some people having an attitude that the rules don’t apply to them.

Burton said staff find cigarette butts in the park everyday and the ones in the photos she posted to Twitter were found right outside the Nature House — the main building at the park which serves as an information centre for visitors. There are signs up throughout the Nature Sanctuary indicting that smoking is prohibited, but Burton said it’s a constant issue. She finds it frustrating that people don’t seem to care that smoking is illegal in the park or that it could have a dangerous effect on the sanctuary.

There was a fire in the park two summers ago and the cause was determined to be a cigarette butt likely flicked into the bushes by someone on the Galloping Goose Trail, Burton explained. Plants burned and wildlife were killed in the fire, she said.

“That’s why cigarettes make me nervous.”

READ ALSO: Saanich resident leads crusade against cigarettes in B.C. drugstores

Not only is there a fire risk, but animals and even children can ingest the discarded cigarettes and visitors to the park breathe in the second-hand smoke, Burton explained. Plus, she said, when smokers butt out their cigarettes they often damage park property in the process.

Staff ask that the public spread the word about smoking and vaping not being permitted in the park by sharing Burton’s tweet or, if it’s safe, alerting those smoking in the park.

She pointed out that the Nature Sanctuary is meant to be a refuge for animals and people and that there are many other places to smoke in Saanich.

Burton encourages everyone to come and enjoy the park while the weather is still nice but asks that cigarettes be left at home.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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