Tbnewswatch Local News
2014-08-09 at 5:45PM

Positive change

Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- People attending this year’s Canadian Lakehead Exhibition have been getting the message to butt out, says the fair’s director.

This year has marked the first time the 124-year-old summer tradition has gone smoke-free and the new rule hasn’t had any negative impacts through the first four days.

Ralph Scharf said people are generally obeying the direction to light up only in the three designated smoking areas on the grounds.

“It far exceeds what we thought,” Scharf said.

“I’ve had a number of people come with a child that has asthma and they’ve said the children are enjoying it a lot more. I think it’s here to stay.”

A walk around the grounds Saturday afternoon found no individuals smoking in general areas nor any visible cigarette butts on the ground.

Each of the designated smoking areas was sparsely populated, as neither one seemed to have more than 10 people at any particular time.

The change has been pleasantly received by many of those in attendance.

Danielle Daigle, who was accompanied by her eight-year-old daughter, said the atmosphere at the fair was generally cleaner and fresher.

“It smells better,” she said. “(In years past) there were also a lot of cigarette butts on the ground.”

Scharf said compliance was been generally accepted and there have been very few who have objected to the policy.

However, enforcement of the rule has not come from CLE personnel.

Rather, Scharf says, it’s the fairgoers who are ensuring the grounds remain smoke-free.

He has seen cases where women with young children have asked smokers to head towards the designated areas.

“This is self-policing as far as we’re concerned,” Scharf said.

“We’ve had tremendous success with people attending saying to people to go over, and it’s a better way to let the community adjust it.”

The 124th edition of the fair concludes on Sunday.

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