Stratford residents split on smoking ban

Market Square is once again stirring up strong emotions in Stratford.

But it isn’t the business owners who once voiced their frustration over the months-long construction.

This time it’s residents debating a proposed smoking ban.

The city’s infrastructure, transportation and safety committee wants Market Square classified as a smoke-free space. That means anyone caught lighting up on the property could face a fine of up to $5,000.

“We want to make sure that everyone can use the space in a smoke-free manner,” says Stratford city councilor Brad Beatty. The change in classification would mean a nine metre zone currently set aside for smokers would be removed. “It takes the guesswork out of where do people smoke and don’t smoke."

Residents are split on the proposed ban.

Some support the city’s initiative to promote healthy living. “I agree in public areas you should be able to smoke,” says Cheryl Bernardo. “I hate it when you go to a restaurant and you go out the front door and you get a whiff of smoke in your face.”

“I think it’s ridiculous,” says another resident. “Where do the regulations end?”

A local paralegal believes the proposed ban is unfair.

“I think Market Square should be more of an inclusive space instead of an exclusive space,” says Kyle McGraw. “I think if council took a reconsidered approach to it and took a logical and thoughtful approach to the situation, I think there could be a fair resolution.”