The student smoking saga continues in Walkerton, and there is no clear solution, only more problems.
Now that the snow has arrived there is a very new concern being raised regarding the student smoking situation along the Fischer Dairy Road subdivision near the Walkerton District Community School.
Councillor Steve Adams is very worried that a student may be struck by a vehicle while on the road.
Adams has witnessed firsthand the number of students who choose to stand along the drivable portion of the road while smoking.
He fears if a vehicle travels along this stretch too quickly, hits a slippery patch and loses control someone may end up hurt or much worse.
Meanwhile Brockton will be hand delivering an Information Bulletin to the residents of this subdivision to update them on the current situation.
Since the updated Smoke Free Ontario Act has come into effect, smoking is prohibited within 20 meters of school grounds.
This has forced students off of school property and into the subdivision area which has caused a lot of friction with the residents who report litter, loitering and trespassing issues.
Mayor Chris Peabody says the Walkerton District Community School and the Municipality of Brockton have been working together to try to come up with a solution.
The biggest hurdle says Peabody is the Grey Bruce Public Health Unit's unwillingness to budge their position on the matter; as he says the Health Unit continues to enforce the 20 metre smoking bubble.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra views the situation quite differently saying the Grey Bruce Health Unit continues to support and collaborate with the municipality, residents, police and school officials.
This includes increasing the smoking cessation resources and efforts to the Walkerton District Community School.
Arra says the role of the Grey Bruce health Unit is to deliver a comprehensive tobacco and e-cigarette strategy including youth prevention, cessation and enforcement.
While this is quite true, Brockton Councillors believe in the interest of student safety and to address the concerns of local residents the 20 meter smoking bubble provision needs to be addressed and amended.
As such, Peabody is presenting a motion to the Grey Bruce Public Board of Health on November 22nd requesting an exemption to the 20 meter smoking ban for the Walkerton District Community School.