Serial, controversial bar owner Peter Sergakis told the Montreal Gazette he will challenge a proposal by the Quebec government to prohibit smoking and vaping on restaurant and bar patios. "I don’t think it’s been proven that second-hand smoking on the terrasse is bad for your health," asserted Sergakis.
Last week Quebec premier Philippe Couillard hinted at plans to present stricter anti-smoking rules. Radio-Canada subsequently reported that the government will recommend a smoking ban on terrasses and in the presence of minors in automobiles. The government will also "subject e-cigarettes to the same restrictions as traditional tobacco, and ban all flavoured cigarettes." Anti-smoking groups applaud the measures and consider them long overdue for the province.
Others, like Sergakis, are not convinced. Renaud Poulin, the president of Quebec’s largest bar owners’ association, fears customers could become a nuisance if forced to smoke elsewhere. "It’s nice to say we’re going to ban smoking, but where are we going to put these people? On the sidewalk? It’s going to cause us a heck of a lot of trouble with the neighbours."
Meanwhile, Chez Alexandre, a long in the tooth downtown restaurant, has other patio concerns. Owner Alain Creton has refused to conform to a request from the borough of Ville-Marie to remove his sidewalk terrasse on Peel, a street currently mired in construction work. "They said if you don’t do that within 72 hours, we’re going to come over and pick up your terrasse. I’m going to attach myself to the tables. If they remove the tables, they will have to remove me," the restaurateur told the Gazette. City officials have told Creton, who pays $40,000 in taxes a year, that his terrasse is an impediment and that his permit will not be renewed. Chez Alexandre has been open since 1977.
Update: Creton has decided to comply with the city's new municipal bylaw. Chez Alexandre's terrasse is no more (save for Grand Prix weekend).