Central Manitoulin calls on OPP to enforce no smoking legislation

MINDEMOYA—The municipal council for Central Manitoulin will be contacting the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to request that they enforce the no smoking legislation at its two local arenas.

“What we are trying to do is discourage smoking in our arenas and provide for safety and health in the buildings,” stated Richard Stephens, Mayor of Central Manitoulin, at a council meeting last week.

Enforcement of the no smoking legislation in the local arenas, “is the first step to eliminate the health and safety issues.”

“This motion was a recommendation that came out of the property committee meeting,” said Councillor Derek Stephens.

“We have had a lot of complaints about people smoking in our arenas and within the nine metres boundary at the entrances into the buildings,” Councillor Dale Scott told members of the Manitoulin Community Policing Advisory Committee at a meeting earlier this month. 

“We are not sure if can detain people who are doing this or evict them,” said Councillor Scott. “There was discussion among councillors that we should call the police, but we aren’t sure if charges could be laid if officers attended the scene. But nothing will change until someone is evicted or a fine is imposed.”

Councillor Scott told council at last week’s meeting that he had been told by OPP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Kevin Webb that he would look into what the OPP position is on the issue and if it can provide enforcement. He said this is provincial legislation and suggested that the municipality should also contact the Sudbury and District Health Unit, as they have officers that deal with this type of issue  on a regular basis. “If we are in a position to enforce these laws we will.”

“It is the OPP that should be enforcing the no-smoking laws, or the SDHU,” said Councillor Derek Stephens.

Council was told it is the health unit that is supposed to be enforcing the no-smoking laws, but officers are not available on weekends.

“Staff Sergeant Detachment Commander Kevin Webb directed me to the SDHU,” said Councillor Scott. “They have a couple of enforcement officers that have jurisdiction on Manitoulin as well and all they do is this type of enforcement. Staff Sergeant Webb indicated if names are taken down and witnesses  can provide information they will investigate a case after the fact.”

“Do the police not do regular patrols?” asked Councillor Pat MacDonald, “or only when a crime is committed.”

“This is all about our employees, and visitors to our arenas health and safety,” said Councillor Stephens.

“We are trying to discourage smoking in our arenas,” said Mayor Stephens.