Volume 96, Issue 7
Tuesday, September 10, 2002

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Smoking bylaw defeated in court

By Chris Webden
Gazette Staff


Smokers of London can rejoice, but not for long.

Last week, less than a year since its enactment, London's anti-smoking bylaw was defeated in court.

Under the current bylaw, establishments whose "primary purpose" is to sell food are not permitted to allow smoking, but those whose "primary purpose" is to sell alcohol can allow smoking.

Talbot Square Restaurant and Steak House won its case against the Middlesex-London Health Unit, when justice of the peace Ronald Trachy ruled the Health Unit could not adequately prove that the establishment was indeed a restaurant.

Following the ruling, the Health Unit withdrew a second charge against Jack Astor's Bar and Grill and were forced to dismiss six other cases that were being held up until a verdict was made in the Talbot case.

The ruling is both good and bad news for London area smokers and restaurant owners, as it may lead the city to enact a 100 per cent smoking ban in all restaurants and bars.

According to Dr. Graham Pollet, medical officer for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, there were definite problems with the wording of the bylaw, adding a new and clearer bylaw needs to be created.

If a new bylaw is drafted, Pollet will be involved in its creation, said Earle Taylor, representative for the London Licensed Restaurant Association, who considers such a situation problematic.

"[Pollett] is not an elected representative and is heavily biased towards [the LLRA's] opinions," Taylor said.

Taylor added that Pollet wants only a 100 per cent ban and is unwilling to compromise on the idea of having completely separated, ventilated rooms where smokers could go to have a cigarette.

Dan Smith, manager of bars and restaurants for the University Students' Council, said the possibility of The Spoke and The Wave allowing smoking is still in limbo.

"We will never again see the days of the infamous Spoke smoking lounge, but I am considering some alternatives," he explained.

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2002 THE GAZETTE