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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Walkerton Mayor Looks For Solution To High School Smoking Issue

Walkerton | by Robyn Garvey  

With students smoking near homes due to a 20 metre ban, residents are upset.

Ever since the new Smoke Free Ontario Act has come into effect, Brockton has been struggling with the new rules that prohibits smoking within 20 meters of a school property.

The issue surrounds the Walkerton District Community School and the sheer size of the property.
The 20 meter smoking ban bubble has forced students off the school grounds and onto the intersection of Hinks Street and Fisher Dairy Road.

This is a residential area and many residents are upset about students loitering in front of their homes and the litter that is left behind.

Mayor Chris Peabody says while the new 20 meter setback rule looks good on paper, in reality it is causing a lot problems in the nearby residential area.

This is why Peabody recently lobbied his fellow Public Health Unit Board of Directors to provide the WDCS with an exemption to the 20 meter setback rule that would allow students to smoke on the far end of the school property in a pocket of trees near the T.D. Bank.

This request says Peabody failed to gain any traction at the last Public Health Board of Director Meeting.

He says with the exception of Hanover, the northern Grey County representatives on the Public Health Unit's Board of Directors seemed unsympathetic to Brockton's struggle.

Despite this setback, Peabody says he will try again this month at the Friday October 25th Public Health Board of Director Meeting.

This time he plans to present a motion requesting an exemption for the Walkerton District Community School in regards to the 20 meter setback.

Peabody encourages Walkerton residents impacted by the student smoking situation to also attend this meeting on Friday October 25th in an effort to put a face on this problem.

Public Health, the WDCS and Brockton staff recently put together an Information Bulletin concerning the Smoke Free Ontario Act and how it applies to schools.

However at the request of Peabody, Council has decided not to endorse the Information Bulletin and has cancelled plans to distribute it to the residents that live near the WDCS.

Peabody says the purpose of the Information Bulletin is to encourage residents to be patient with the new smoking rules, but he believes they have been patient long enough and it is time for common sense to prevail.


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