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Smoking ban a minor inconvenience for Winnipeg Beach

Michel Forest

Smoking will be banned at the Winnipeg Beach bandstand in 2014.

Smoking will be banned at the Winnipeg Beach bandstand in 2014.

In a town whose economy depends on tourism dollars, the province’s recent announcement of a ban on smoking at public beaches and provincial parks will likely affect visitors to this small beachside community who smoke, at least initially.

Winnipeg Beach mayor Tony Pimentel says the smoking ban will have an effect on the town, but says people will adjust.

“Unfortunately, our bandstand sits right in the middle of a provincial park, so the smoking ban will be an inconvenience for smokers who would like to enjoy the shows there. I guess that they will simply have to move back past the sidewalk.”

That is indeed where the line will be drawn, so to speak, as smoking will still be permitted on town property only inches away from the designated smoking ban area, and so the inconvenience will in actuality be a minor one for smokers in the case of Winnipeg Beach.

Recreation Manager Allan Sulyma agrees that it should not be a big problem.

“During the summer, I’ve observed people getting up to go and smoke near the street as a courtesy to other people who are at the bandstand shows.”

Since it was built in 2000, the bandstand has become the focal point for outdoor activities in Winnipeg Beach, attracting thousands of visitors each year to live music shows, outdoor exercise gatherings such as the wildly popular Zumba classes, and other community events such as Canada Day and of course Boardwalk Days at the end of July.

While it is going to take time for people to get accustomed to the idea of not smoking in the park and at the beach, Manitobans will likely govern themselves accordingly given that there are only two or three months during which they can take advantage of good weather and outdoor recreation.

“It will be the same as it was when they banned smoking in our bars, it will simply take time for people to adjust to the new situation,” Pimentel concluded.



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