This smoke signal is just blowing in the wind


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Hockey’s second season heralds the arrival of long hours spent in front of the telly as playoff games often require two or more periods of overtime for a winner to prevail (if you’re a Leaf fan you will not be able to relate to this, so just try to imagine).
City council could be faced with a similar information marathon Tuesday as they come to grips with a 113-page agenda stuffed with meaty matters.

The opening whistle allows a representative of Stomp Out Smoke to address council on the thorny issue of creating smoke-free parks and recreational facilities.
“We have been advocating to various sports teams, school teams and beach areas,” notes SOS member Taylor Longfield in a letter to city clerk Wendell Graves.
“We would like to present to city council in hopes of making city parks, beaches, playgrounds and recreational facilities in St. Thomas and Elgin county tobacco free.”
This past Monday, council gave city staff the green light to study the smoking restrictions (similar bylaws are being pursued in Toronto and Georgina, north of Newmarket, Ont.).
It’s a noble undertaking but getting down to the nitty-gritty, who enforces such a ban?
The city has several virtually unenforceable bylaws on the books now and this would surely fall into the same category.
You have to look no further than groups of smokers huddled in front of business and retail outlets to ascertain the difficulty of upholding the letter of the law.
As to Ald. Bill Aarts’ suggestion of a posted sign — such a warning loses its impact when viewed through the haze of tobacco smoke.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Chris Vazquez and Donald Gordon, a pair of Grade 12 students at Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, deserve a trainload of praise for their efforts to restore passenger rail service between St. Thomas and London.
The steel rail advocates realize their dream of hopping aboard a coach and commuting between the two cities may be a decade or more down the track, but that hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm to see a return of regularly-scheduled service which last trundled along the roadbed in 1957.
They’ve helped establish the St. Thomas and London Commuter Rail Association with the hope of attracting funding from all three levels of government.
“Trains are economically friendly, they’re environmentally friendly, they reduce urban congestion … so why don’t we have them in St. Thomas?” wonders Vazquez.
With two wonderfully imaginative minds hosting a masterful presentation this past Wednesday at the library, where were our elected officials from all levels of government?
The future development of St. Thomas and Elgin rests in the hands of bright lights like Chris and Donald.
It’s time our politicos got on board.

WHY IS IT … ?
Mayor Cliff Barwick and Ald. Tom Johnstonhave no difficulty whatsover taking guidance and following direction from St. Thomas Holdings Inc. CAO Brian Hollywood, yet both are vehemently opposed to a CAO housed in city hall.
Puzzling.

FROM THE MAILBOX
Faithful reader Chuck Siple, who views the T-J online in Debary, Fla., poses the following questions in a letter.
“I don’t see anything as to the results of the mayor’s subject trip (to Japan). It would be interesting to know what contacts were made, subjects covered and timelines as to future trade possibilities. This is similar to the way businesses evaluate the success of sending their respresentatives to trade shows and seminars. It provides metrics by which to judge the merits of the activity and their relative worth to the business (in this case the citizens of St. Thomas).
“If you could, would you please let me know where I could find this online.”
We’d love to be of assistance Chuck, but we’re still waiting for his long-overdue expense report from said trip.

THE (SPIN) DOCTORS ARE IN
It appears St. Thomas Energy has retained the services of a public relations firm, based on a phone call this week to the T-J.
Have to wonder how those who are ultimately footing the tab (city ratepayers) feel when they look at their utility bill in relation to a firm (On Communication of London, Ont.) hired to ensure we all feel good about the service provided.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We have trouble enforcing the bylaws that are already on the books — if we add another one, it’ll be even more difficult to enforce.”
Ald. Terry Shackelton concedes adults shouldn’t smoke around children but is opposed to a bylaw restricting smoking on city playgrounds.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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