Halifax won’t be following Truro’s no-smoking lead anytime soon.
This week Truro town council voted to ban smoking on Inglis Place, a popular downtown strip as part of an effort to reign in loitering and smoke drifting into shops.
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Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly said it’s not something council is looking at for busy shopping streets like Spring Garden Road or Barrington Street.
“Probably, it’s next to nil in terms of concerns raised (from residents),” said Kelly.
Rather, HRM council is focusing on the upcoming budget right now, he said.
Bernie Smith, president of the Spring Garden Area Business Association, said he’s seen police ticket people for smoking within four metres of a window, doorway or air intake.
“People come out of the buildings and smoke outside on the sidewalk, but as long as they’re more than four metres away, then they can do it,” he said.
Store owners do complain about smokers on occasion, he added.
“There was one particular store that had trouble because there was one of these butt-stop things fixed onto a garbage can right outside. The staff was complaining the smell was coming in, but we got that dealt with.”
And smokers’ rights aren’t much of a civil liberties violation when compared to issues like the freedom of speech or religion, said lawyer J. Walter Thompson.
“But I find the whole business of the nanny state and its viciousness and its interference with people’s lives in the issue of smoking to be over the top,” he said.
“There really is a class issue involved here. It’s an issue of the elite of the community and ordinary people live. It’s ‘we know what’s best for you and we’re going to crusade against smoking.’”
Bridgewater tried to ban smoking on public streets in 2008, but complaints forced them to scale it back to places such as playgrounds, beaches and cemeteries.