Smoking bylaw garners support in Emo

Many of about 40 people who attended a meeting at the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre on Thursday night spoke in favour of a ban on smoking in enclosed public places.
Emo council, Emo Chamber of Commerce president Colleen Vennechenko, business owners, doctors, and even Chapple Coun. Rick Neilson were on hand for meeting, which lasted about two hours.
Chapple will hold a similar public meeting on the smoking bylaw issue on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Barwick Hall.
The meeting in Emo was a calm one—a departure from some of the heated debates in council chambers and other public meetings in recent weeks.
“We’re here to gather opinions on the smoking bylaw,” Emo Reeve Russ Fortier said as he opened the meeting. “We have to respect each other’s opinions.”
And, for the most part, they did.
Geoff Gillon, economic development officer for the Rainy River Future Development Corp., chaired the meeting and read 11 letters from residents unable to attend.
The vast majority supported a full ban on smoking in enclosed public places.
“I know people have heated opinions,” Gillon said in his opening statement. “Council is here to listen. It’s a trying issue, try to be civil.”
Brian Maguire, the new owner of the Emo Inn, was the first to speak.
“I wear two hats—I’m a non-smoker and a business owner,” he said, adding his main concern is that all businesses in district municipalities “sing from the same song sheet.”
Business owners have expressed concern they could lose customers to neighbouring municipalities unless a blanket ban is implemented across the district.
“We’re not going to our next meeting and table a bylaw. We won’t make a decision without consulting the public,” Reeve Fortier pledged.
Emo’s next council meeting is slated this Tuesday (May 28) at 7 p.m.