The proposed Wagga CBD smoking ban has attracted another enemy in the city’s liquor accord, which has labelled the plan as simply bad for business.
Liquor accord secretary David Barnhill, the publican of the William Farrer Hotel, believes council has gone “a bit too far” in planning to ban smoking along Baylis and Fitzmaurice streets and parts of Forsyth Street.
“I think it could hamper a lot of businesses, not just hotels but a lot of businesses in the main street,” Mr Barnhill said.
The William Farrer Hotel, located on the corner of Peter and Edward streets, is not affected by the ban but other pubs in the main street are set to be hit hard if it goes ahead.
In particular, the Union Club Hotel – which has very limited in-house smoking facilities – could be one of the hardest hit – with both Baylis and Forsyth streets to be off-limits to smokers under the ban.
Wagga City Council is currently assessing public submissions on the proposal.
Mr Barnhill said council should have bigger things to worry about, such as parking issues in the CBD.
“I think there are bigger fish to fry up there than worrying about this,” he said.
“I don’t smoke, but if I did I wouldn’t be too happy with that policy if it got put through.”
Wagga councillor Julian McLaren, an opponent of the ban, said the city’s elected body shouldn’t be trying to “play nanny state” for its residents.
“I’ve been to Sydney, I’ve been to Pitt Street Mall and everyone’s smoking (there),” he said.
“I don’t see any enforcement, I don’t see any smoking ban but I don’t see anyone affected by it either.”
Councillor Greg Conkey, a firm backer of the ban, however believes it will not affect business “one iota” if implemented.
“When they banned smoking from pubs and clubs and restaurants, the sky was going to fall in,” he said.
“It didn’t happen. Quite the opposite happened frankly – they actually got more business.”
Council will consider a report about the smoking ban proposal at its meeting on October 12.
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