Public input sought on smoking bylaw

The town is inviting residents to offer input on the debate over establishing a bylaw to ban smoking in enclosed public places at a public meeting slated Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre.
“At the last couple of council meetings, the issue of has come up. The town’s approach to this is to have citizen input,” CAO Bill Naturkach said Monday morning.
“If we’re going to have local bylaws, we need to hear what the people have to say. We’re bound to hear opinions from both sides of the issue,” he noted.
“But we have to follow the normal process of local representation,” he added.
Naturkach reiterated the town is disregarding a request by Dr. Pete Sarsfield, CEO and chief medical officer of the Northwestern Health Unit, to notify him by May 31 as to whether the town plans to institute a smoking bylaw.
“We’re prepared to take as long as it takes. We can only have 12-15 presentations a night so it’s not likely this meeting will be the only one,” he remarked.
“Quoting the mayor, the May 31 deadline is irrelevant here. We’ll make our decision when we know we have looked at all sides of the issue and considered the public input,” Naturkach stressed.
About 10 minutes will be allotted for each presentation.
Those wishing to voice their opinion are requested to register prior to Monday, April 1 by calling clerk Glen Treftlin at 274-5323, ext. 236.
Any documents and handouts related to presentations also are to be filed in advance.
The idea to hold public meetings on the smoking bylaw issue first was brought up in January after the health unit launched a postcard campaign to gauge public support for a ban on second-hand smoke in enclosed public places.
Last month, Dr. Sarsfield officially declared second-hand smoke a “health hazard,” and has since said he’s prepared to take legal action against district municipalities that don’t establish bylaws.