District of Squamish Council voted unanimously to refer a letter and petition from Grizzly Pub owner John Dancy to staff at Tuesday's council meeting, after Dancy blamed recent noise complaints and other disturbances on the municipality's smoking bylaw.
According to Dancy, the pub built a patio in 2008 to be in compliance with provincial laws but the latest municipal bylaw adopted in July 2008 - which bans smoking in workplaces, common areas, and within three metres of a doorway, window or air intake - forces smokers to move further off premises.
"Our adult consenting smokers used to be contained by our patio where noise levels were controlled by our staff and their cigarette debris was discarded in ash trays and garbage cans," wrote Dancy. "Now our guests are smoking in the public breezeway outside our front doors, on the sidewalk and street behind the (Sea to Sky Hotel), and also in front of the STS Hotel. Their noise, smoke and cigarette debris is now spread across a large area surrounding our business."
Dancy says the new bylaws are costing him money. In addition to the fact that his patio is now unnecessary Dancy says there has been an increased cost as smokers skip out on bills, while also raising his cleaning costs.
His petition to allow smoking on outdoor decks and patios in the District of Squamish included 111 names.
Mayor Greg Gardner put forward a motion to refer Dancy's letter and petition to staff. "There has been a complaint from neighbours about the noise outside this establishment... and the gist of the letter is that it is a result of the smoking bylaw," said Gardner. "My recommendation is to refer it to staff for investigation and see whether there is a recommendation to alter the bylaw."
Councillor Paul Lalli supported the motion and said he had been in contact with three bar owners that have had the same issue. "They are now expressing hardship due to this bylaw because they spent money creating outdoor smoking patios," he said.
Squamish lists outstanding highway issues
While the Sea to Sky Highway nears completion, the District of Squamish has brought forward a list of outstanding issues with the work, ranging from the paving over of water mains to features that do not meet district standards.
The 19 issues were presented at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Nov. 17 with council issuing a recommendation for staff to meet with the Ministry of Transportation to discuss the list and bringing a revised list back to council in December.
"The ministry is aware of all these items, and many items they have been aware of for many months," said Mayor Greg Gardner on Wednesday. "This list is representative of the remaining outstanding issues, so there have been a large number of issues that have already been resolved."