No smoking, drone-flying, treasure-hunting, staying out late at Windsor parks

City council has approved changes to the parks bylaw that include an earlier curfew.

Council approved changes to the parks bylaw and permits may be required for some activities

Michelle Lucas Matchett took this picture in Windsor's Alexander Park. Council approved changes to the city's park bylaw that would see an earlier curfew at Windsor parks. (Michelle Lucas Matchett/Facebook)

You'll have to clear out of parks in Windsor an hour earlier at night.

City council has approved changes to the parks bylaw that include an earlier curfew — currently the curfew is midnight until 5 a.m.

"There was really no need to be in parks after 11 p.m., really after dark or after 11 p.m., unless there's an event going on, in which case they would have a permit," said Jan Wilson, executive director of parks and recreation. 

"We did a survey of other municipalities. There were very few that actually had the curfew at midnight most of them have it at around 10 p.m. to 11 p.m."

The updated bylaw also makes it clear that all forms of smoking — including use of hookahs or vaping — are not allowed in parks.

"There is an allowance for a designated smoking area in parks if you get a permit," said Wilson, meaning it would be allowed for specific events. 

Drones and treasure hunting

The city has also set up a permit structure for so-called "treasure hunters."

"There's a membership of metal detector users so we will sit down with them to look at our revised permit process to address some of the issues and challenges we've had with the use of metal detectors," said Wilson. 

Jan Wilson, executive director of parks and recreation, said that other municipalities had an earlier curfew than Windsor did. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

According to the report that went before council, the use of metal detectors "can interfere with the use and enjoyment of Parks" and the city has noticed where people have dug up parts of the park looking for something that was buried. 

But Jack Lewis of the Sunparlour Treasure Seekers Windsor club said his members are doing more than hunting.

"Our members provide a valuable service to the police, city and the public by finding and returning jewelry, keys, items of crime and other metal objects lost or tossed in the parks," he said.

"Our members routinely find to remove sharp objects from the playgrounds, grass, water and sand, items such as rusty nails, shredded pop cans, needles and broken glass."

Lewis said if his members had been allowed in parks sooner this year, they could have found a board with nails sticking out of it that was recently stepped on by a child at Realtor Park.

There were also changes to the use of drones or "unmanned aircraft" at the park, as per federal guidelines, Wilson said. 

"You would be required to have a permit and in order to get a permit you'd have to follow the regulations of Transport Canada, which for recreational use of drones has quite a bit of restrictions," she said, adding an updated regulation is coming soon and the city will match those changes.

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