ROTHENBURGER – Banning drug use in parks is a great idea, but it will likely fail

Disposal container at Westmount park. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

WOULDN’T IT BE NICE if we could go for a walk in Riverside Park, or relax in Pioneer Park, without having to put up with people doing drugs?

Under the new decriminalization law adopted by the provincial government, small amounts of addictive illicit drugs can now legally be possessed and used, even in most public places. That includes parks.

So, a drug user could sit on a bench or under a tree in the park and consume illicit substances including heroine, fentanyl, crack and powder cocaine, ecstasy or meth and not get busted as long as they have 2.5 grams or less in their possession.

Some communities are trying to do something about that. The District of Sicamous was the first, and is quickly being followed by others, possibly including Kamloops. Last week, Sicamous unanimously approved bylaw changes that ban the use of illicit drugs in its parks.


Mel Rothenburger is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He has served as mayor of Kamloops, school board chair and TNRD director, and is a retired newspaper editor. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9634 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Banning drug use in parks is a great idea, but it will likely fail

  1. John Noakes // April 2, 2023 at 12:14 PM // Reply

    One of the cutest, most heart warming things that happens at Westmount Park are the times the care givers bring the group of pre-school children (from a local child care centre) to play at the front corner of the park where the playground equipment is located. They don’t have a care in the world. The sound of laughter and play can’t be missed. When it’s time to go, the children line up in single file and head back to the child care centre.
    It’s hard to imagine this was somehow overlooked when the decision was made to put up the sharps container or the notion it was a good idea to have a facility such as Moira House so close to a City park that serves as a playground for pre-school children.

  2. The rights of the citizens should be first and foremost and the “stigma” will always be there. Reducing oneself to zombie state is not acceptable.

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