Volume 95, Issue 54

Tuesday, January 9, 2002
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Councillor seeks to impeach Baxter

Former Miami Vice star gives Ivey cash?

Cheating plagues universities

To smoke or not to smoke - the saga continues

Queen's seeks deregulation; students hold their breath

News Briefs

Just in case you missed it...

Pestering politicians

To smoke or not to smoke - the saga continues

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

The Middlesex London Health Unit's interpretation of London's new smoking bylaw is keeping things from progressing smoothly according to local officials.

Gary Williams, Ward 5 city councillor and chair of the community and protective services committee, said mediation talks meant to help clarify the status of restaurants and bars ended Monday as a result of the health unit's reluctance to compromise.

"In my opinion, the health unit has decided it wants to have a no smoking ban on all restaurants and bars in the city," he said.

"The outright ban is a lazy way of governing," Williams said, criticizing the health unit's objectives. "A total ban may come in time, but this bylaw was meant to be the first stage in the larger process."

Graham Pollett, London's medical officer of health, said the health unit's plan to allow establishments that make 66 per cent of their income from alcohol sales to designate themselves as bars, thus avoiding smoking restrictions, is the most effective method of ending the dispute.

Earle Taylor, spokesman for the London Licensed Restaurant Association, said his organization does not feel there is a problem with the conditions of the bylaw.

"The difference between bar and restaurant is absolutely clear for more than 90 per cent of the establishments in London," he said, noting the "grey area" includes establishments that cannot be categorized as either a bar or a restaurant.

"The problem is with the interpretation of the bylaw," he said.

"[City] Council decided a number of years ago to ban smoking in restaurants and leave it in bars and we recognize that there are a number of bars in the grey area depending on what time of day you go into the bar," Williams said.

"We need to come up with a third way of looking at these areas," he said.

Despite this, Taylor said he is prepared to accept the bylaw as it currently stands.

–with files from Joel Brown and Erin Conway-Smith

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Copyright The Gazette 2001