Calgary Smoking Ban Challenged by Lawsuits

Calgary bar and bingo establishment owners that who will be affected by a citywide smoking ban set to be implemented on January 1, 2008 are looking to explore legal options to halt or change the January 1, 2007 law which was already put on the fast track for approval by a bylaw that was recently passed by the council.

One of those businesses that will be affected by the smoking ban is Bingo Palace, located at 2600 35 Ave. N.E., who has already consulted their lawyers on the best way possible to challenge the controversial law that wil take effect two years from now.

Dennis Kronberger, the Bingo Palace's manager said that they still do not know what the bylaw contains, but looking at the current situation, he fears for the worst case scenario. He said that they already have lawyers looking at the situation to see if there is anything they could do about it.

He also added that the smoking ban that is set to enforced next January could immediately affet two of the city's eight bingo halls because almost 80% of its customers are smokers.

The law could also affect the $10 million dollars that bingo halls raise for charities in Calgary. Take for example on what happened to Edmonton, their smoking ban caused them to lose almost 25% percent of their customers overnight.

According to some of the staunchest opponents of the ban, there is some uncertainty whether a smoking room could mean the entire hall or not. The president of the Calgary Pub and Bar Association, Mike Joseph, said that they would do everything to fight the smoking ban because of the harsh effect that it would bring to the whole business climate of Calgary.

He also said that they would look on the possibility of appealing it because the businesses would really be affected even in a just a short time after its implementation. They would think about their next move carefully if an appeal do not work.

He also said that they feel that the deal that they have previously made with the city council that the pubs have to go smoke free in six months instead of the agreed 18 months was not fair and a problem enough on the part of the businesses establishments who will take a hard hit after the ban is enforced.

But Bill Bruce, who is the city bylaw chief begs to differ, saying that they have already warned the establishments that the old laws that were passed in December 2002 could change before 2008. He also said that he is not worried about the plans of the pubs to challenge the smoking ban because they can make a law that will be clear and cannot be challenged. No one who has challenged the ban before has won. It is also no problem to give some select businesses a different date from the others.


Monday, July 31, 2006
Patrick Simons

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