Turlock smokers may need to find new locations to puff on their cigarettes and cigars other than city parks if local Girl Scouts have anything to do with it.
Four eighth grade students of the Turlock based Girls Scouts Troop 3289 made an appearance at the monthly Arts, Parks, and Recreation Commission Wednesday evening to request the commissioners consider taking steps towards creating a healthier environment at local parks by forbidding smoking.
“Parks are supposed to be a place to exercise and for kids to enjoy playing but the smoking gets in the way of that,” said Girl Scout Kaylin Davis.
Fellow Girl Scout Collette Sommerville echoed Davis’ sentiment adding that the issue of second hand smoke is personal as she lives next to Donnelly Park and “can often smell the bad odor,” which irritates her already bad allergies.
According to Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Superintendent Erik Schulze this isn’t the first time someone has approached the Commission to consider banning smoking at public parks as Stanislaus County made a similar case two years ago in a countywide effort to place a ban on smoking at public parks. However, with an ordinance already in place that prevents smokers from enjoying their cigarettes too close to the play structures at parks the request did not make it to the Turlock City Council for a vote.
“If this request were to go forward and be approved by the Council we would certainly bring the county back into the fold to be a part of a countywide effort,” said Shulze.
After hearing the Girls Scouts’ request on Wednesday the next step for the Commission is to list the item on the agenda as a discussion item for September’s meeting where the benefits and downsides of banning smoking would be discussed. Should the commissioners put the request to a vote, an agenda item would be placed on the following month’s agenda, which if passed would then be presented to the City Council.
“At the end of the day our goal is awareness,” said the Troop Leader Janet Smith.