Congratulations to Cementation’s Roy Slack on taking over the reins as President of the Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, also known as CIM. It is a great honor for our community to have the former President of Cementation as the incoming President of CIM. Good luck to Roy on his new adventure and we are confident that he will do a great job.

Last weeks Council meeting saw the kick-off of Clean Green & Beautiful the initiative of several community groups, to make North Bay the most beautiful community in Northern Ontario. The launch was a big success and we hope that the momentum continues with our community embracing it. No action is too little and anything that any individual does to contribute, will make our community just that little bit better. Congratulations to Hariett and the entire crew on making this a reality.

Also, at Council last week, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit presented an update to Council, on possible changes to the municipal bylaws to bring in line with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act 2017. The Health Unit explained that City bylaws should be updated to conform with the Provincial Act as vaping and the legalization of cannabis need to be considered by municipal bylaws. The inclusion of prohibitions on smoking/vaping tobacco or cannabis to several area’s needed to be looked at and certainly made sense.

The resolution that was presented to Council included restrictions on the vaping and or smoking in any City park, sporting facility, playgrounds and other areas as defined by the original bylaw, passed in 2012. This makes sense and the writer fully supports these changes as outlined in the resolution presented to Council, by Councillor’s Tignanelli and Robertson. The resolution appeared to be straight forward and without issue until the resolution was amended. The amendment changed the intent and included all municipal public spaces and all workplaces. I fully support the municipal ban but have several concerns when it impacts businesses and private workspaces.

The present bylaw (2012) allows for private businesses and workplaces to declare themselves smoke free properties. Many businesses have taken advantage of this portion of the bylaw and have registered themselves as smoke free properties. This was by choice of the private business owners and the amendments proposed if passed, remove that choice. It is laudable that Council moves in this direction on all municipal open space and facilities however, at minimum, consultation with the business community should be done prior to proposing a complete ban.

One of the early lessons that many councillors over the years learn, is that you should never pass a bylaw that 1) people do not fully understand or 2) a bylaw that can’t be enforced. In an age where we continually hear that we need less government intervention/cost and red tape, it appears that Council is heading the other way. The updated bylaw adopting the changes to the Provincial Act is needed but let the individual business make the choice on whether to opt in. Business needs less bureaucracy and not more as proposed. It is hopeful that Council will at least consult with private business, before instituting the amendment.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.