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Sault goes Smoke Free on June 1, 2004

Sault Ste. Marie City Council voted last night to impose a total ban on smoking in enclosed public places, effective June 1, 2004.
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SmokingCrowd

Sault Ste. Marie City Council voted last night to impose a total ban on smoking in enclosed public places, effective June 1, 2004.

With a packed gallery watching, Council voted 9-3 in favour of the 100% Smoke Free Initiative, which was supported by a coalition of 13 local health agencies but vigorously opposed by bar and bingo owners, and by numerous charities that derive income from bingo facilities.

Speaking in favour of the ban:

- Janet Allen, Algoma Health Unit - Dr. Allan Northan, Algoma Health Unit - Frank Hibbard, The Lung Association - Bruce Munroe, Canadian Cancer Society - Dan Ingram, Heart and Stroke Foundation - Dr. Tim Best, Algoma West Academy of Medicine - Dr. Janice Willet - Dr. Greg Berg

Speaking against 100% Smoke Free:

- Jim McGinn, Greenbelt Charities - Mary Carlucci, Greenbelt Bingo - Rosemary Rahilly, Mount St. Joseph College - Ian Overman, Sault Speedskating Club - Ben Pascuzzi, Chamber of Commerce - Andre Trahan, Bar Owners Association - Carol Weirzbicki, Bar Owners Association - Dan Tate, PUBCO (Ottawa-based pub owners group)

Also on the list to speak against the ban was Tom Mauro from Sault College. Mauro did not appear. No reason was given for his absence.

Sault Speedskating Club

With Art Jennings present for moral support, Ian Overman of the Sault Speedskating Club told councillors that 75 percent of the club's budget goes to travel expenses, much of which is raised through Friday-morning bingos at Greenbelt, which has special ventilation technology and separate rooms for smokers and non-smokers.

"If for a moment I thought we would be exposed to second-hand smoke, we would not be there," Overman said. referring to Greenbelt's technology as "state-of-the-art."

Without bingo revenue, the Sault Speedskating Club will be reduced to a mere recreational group.

"Hosting meets would be a things of the past," Overman said.

How they voted:

Here's how your councillors voted on imposing 100% Smoke Free effective June 1, 2004:

Duane Jones - For Peter Vaudry - For James Caicco - For Tony Ryma - For Lou Turco - Against Bryan Hayes - Against Frank Manzo - Against Pat Mick - For Neil DelBianco - For David Orazietti - For Brady Irwin - For John Rowswell - For Debbie Amaroso - Absent

Irwin, Mick sought 2003 implementation

Prior to that vote, Councillors Brady Irwin and Pat Mick sought to have the implementation date moved forward to May 31, 2003, to respect the wishes of 11,000 residents who signed the 100% Smoke Free petition.

But that effort failed. Here's how councillors voted on early implementation:

Duane Jones - Against Peter Vaudry - For James Caicco - Against Tony Ryma - For Lou Turco - Against Bryan Hayes - Against Frank Manzo - Against Pat Mick - For Neil DelBianco - Against David Orazietti - Against Brady Irwin - For John Rowswell - Against Debbie Amaroso - Absent

Irwin's car trashed

Today's Sault Star reports that Councillor Irwin left last night's meeting to discover that his car window had been smashed. Nothing was taken and Irwin was unable to say whether the damage was related to the meeting. The incident is not mentioned in today's police report. No plebiscite

Council also held a third vote on the issue.

Councillors Frank Manzo and James Caicco tried to get Council to agree to hold a plebiscite on the issue during the next municipal election in November of next year, but were voted down. It wasn't a recorded vote.

What happens now?

For full information about how the ban will be implemented, please click here.

Issue may be revisited?

Mayor John Rowswell, who rushed others through their presentations and then made one of the longest orations of the evening, left the door open for Council to revisit the issue prior to implementation of the smoking ban.

The Mayor referred both to his mother, a long-time volunteer with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and his father, known to enjoy many a cigarette with his beer at the Algonquin.

"They're hooked. I think that some consideration is due to smokers," Rowswell said.

The Mayor, a professional engineer, said that he's not yet convinced that the effectivness of ventilation has been definitively proven, but he expressed willingness to review the evidence prior to implementing the smoking ban.

What have you been smoking?

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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