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By Joel Brown
The Wave and The Spoke could become smoke-free as soon as next month if the Middlesex-London Health Unit's enforcement recommendation is approved by London city council.
On Monday, city council's Community and Protective Services Committee approved the Health Unit's plan of action, which will ban smoking in establishments that do not exceed a 2:1 liquor/food sales ratio.
Ward 7 councillor Susan Eagle said all that is needed now is an approval by city council, which is expected next Monday.
Establishments hoping to avoid the ban by being designated bars must provide the health unit with chartered accountant verification that their food sales do not exceed 33 per cent of total sales. If they do not fulfill this requirement by Feb. 18, their business is automatically designated a restaurant.
With The Spoke making 40 per cent of sales from food and The Wave having an even split between food and alcohol revenue, Dan Smith, manager of both University Students' Council-owned establishments, said it seems inevitable both places will be forced to go smoke-free, though he was unable to set an exact date.
Smith said he has been unhappy with the lack of information from the health unit on the issue and will be meeting with inspectors this week to clarify the definitions of food and liquor sales.
"No policy changes have been put in as of yet," he said. "The whole process has been very ambiguous and unfair. We'll be sitting on the fence until we get better answers."
While an appeal process will be created for establishments that believe they are wrongly designated, Smith said the USC will abide by the non-smoking bylaw. He added he hopes a smoking ban will also be introduced for bars to even the playing field.
Spoke patron and smoker Matt Maher said he would abandon his study spot if the establishment were to go smoke-free. "I'd go somewhere else it really doesn't matter where you sit and read, but I'd want to smoke," he said.
Another self-described Spoke regular, Chris Poblock, said he would still frequent the tavern, but plans to smoke outside. "However, I might reduce the amount of times I come here in the winter," he added.
London's medical officer of health Graham Pollett said he hopes to provide a report on the possibility of a total ban to CAPS within the next two months.