Ray Spiteri reported in the Niagara Falls Review:
"City council has agreed to allow for three smoking areas outside the Scotiabank Convention Centre.The decision flies in the face of Niagara Falls' bylaw prohibiting smoking on any land or building owned by the city.
Politicians amended the bylaw at the request of convention centre management.
"Despite our best efforts, it has proven futile to enforce the non-smoking directive," Kerry Painter, the centre's president and general manager, said in a letter to city hall.
"We have guests that pay a great deal of money to rent our spaces, many of whom come from areas which allow smoking and are, therefore, not cognizant of any regulations to the contrary."
Painter said the centre has received "many complaints" the bylaw is "impeding our guests who smoke, many of whom have a limited few minutes to take a break during their conference schedule and it is not feasible for them to walk out to the boulevard or to their own vehicles to smoke."
She said as the centre continues to try and "woo new markets" such as Europe and China, the current bylaw will "become a growing challenge."
Coun. Joyce Morocco did not back the amendment, saying she supports healthy living and that the bylaw should be consistent.
Coun. Wayne Thomson said he thinks the decision will likely result in other requests for an exemption, but that the convention centre is unique.
"The only reason the city name is on that property is for financial reasons, so they don't have to pay taxes," said Thomson. "The city did not pay for it. It was all private sector and government (federal and provincial) grants, so it's not really a city building."
He said private buildings have an advantage because the bylaw doesn't apply to them.
"The convention centre is in competition with every other convention centre to try and get business here. The convention centre is inviting people for conventions from outside the city and they're not familiar with the laws. If you tell them there's no smoking, you've lost yourself a convention."City clerk Dean Iorfida said enforcing the no-smoking bylaw is difficult because a bylaw officer is not always at sites when an infraction occurs. He said the intent of the bylaw is more so to bring about a change in public behaviour."
What a bunch of hypocrites in Niagara Falls' Diodativille council: now city hall is planning to create exemptions to the new (and apparently, not too busy...) Scotia Bank convention centre from the city's own non-smoking bylaw!
Let's see: will anyone ask local Liberal Environment Minister Jim Bradley (or Kim Craitor) - you know: the MPP's who proudly proclaim they're part of that 'CleanAir' McGuinty crowd - about this move to placate smokers on public property?
We all know how McGuinty's holier-than-thou Liberals sneer at smokers, while collecting their taxes!! This convention centre was built with millions of federal and provincial tax dollars - why aren't the feds or the province speaking up??
Why has no one from the Niagara Falls Review bothered to ask Jim Bradley about what his municipal-Liberal colleague Mayor Diodati's council is doing? Aren't the comments from Ontario's Environment Minister of any relevance here?! Why wasn't any comment from local MPP Kim Craitor made available in the story? Anyone bother to ask these Liberals?
Looks like smoking is now touted in Niagara Falls as being good for business - so they're getting 'unique' exemptions from the city's (apparently phony) non-smoking by-law!
Is this the kind of duplicitous, smoky international environmental image of the Honeymoon Capital which Ontario's Liberal Environment Minister Jim Bradley intends to uphold - just before the Holy Green Durban Climate Festival, no less?!?!
Good Gaia, Jim: do something!! Diodati's council will become complicit in enabling smoker's dependency and diseases, not to mention that they'll also be Destroying Mother Earth! Is that what McGuinty's Liberals want to see Liberal Jim Diodati's council do?! This is a slap in the face of the Kyoto Protocol!
Why isn't Environment Minister Jim Bradley forcing Jim Diodati's council to first undergo a lengthy series of multi-phase environmental-impact studies before such an exemption could be made?
Why isn't Ontario's Environment Minister Jim Bradley demanding that Diodati and his council reveal the carbon-foot-print and pollution damage to The Planet as a result of this move, as well as provide in-depth studies of the climate-change and global-warming impacts that their exemption will cause??
How many severe weather events and storms will this by-law exemption cause, Mr. Bradley? Do you know? Do you care?
How many floods, droughts, earthquakes, heat waves and hurricanes will be caused by the Diodati council's flaunting of their own non-smoking by-law, Mr. Bradley?
C'mon there Jim Bradley: stop hiding and publicly endorse - or publicly condemn - what Niagara Falls' faux-green mayor Jim Diodati and his council are now doing!!
Where are you, Mister Enviro-Hypocrite Bradley? Looking the other way?