Calgary creates plan to research e-cigarettes and their health effects
Some Alberta smokers are living within a loophole of the law when it comes to indoor puffing of electronic cigarettes, also known as E-cigarettes.
Alberta's Tobacco Reduction Act states that, "'smoke' means to smoke, hold or otherwise have control over a lit tobacco product" – the word "lit" being the loophole.
Once again technology has outpaced law-making and the City of Calgary is trying to catch up.
City councillors met on Sept. 22 and passed a motion to begin a work-plan on E-cigarettes. The goal is to conduct comprehensive research about E-cigarettes to better understand what health concerns there may be. Some Calgarians are worried that this work-plan is only the beginning of future bylaws restricting use of the cigarette substitute.
Abba Shytermeja smoked for 15 years. She used E-cigarettes to quit smoking and thinks the possibility of bylaws is ridiculous.
"You can see the smoke, but it's just vapour air," she says.
- By Jessica Brady
Inventory of tax and utility relief programs does get the go-ahead
Couns. Sean Chu's and Ward Sutherland's two-part tax motion was half successful when it was brought before city council members at their July 28 meeting.
In a unanimous vote it was agreed that the city should compile an inventory of programs that provide tax and utility relieffor Calgarians.
However, the second part of the motion was defeated in an 8-7 vote. That motion would have empowered administration to prepare a study outlining the impacts of tax and utility increases on low-income households when it comes to the council adjusting its budget.
- By Quinton Amundson & Paulina Liwski
Council hopes specific times will encourage safety and reduce driver confusion
Significant changes to Calgary school and playground zone times are coming in September.
At its July 22 meeting , council voted — despite major opposition from Mayor Naheed Nenshi — to change the current playground zone and school zone times from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Coun. Shane Keating said these playground and school zone timing changes are necessary to help decrease driver confusion in the city.
- By Paulina Liwski
City will hold a strategic planning session on corporate financing in the fall.
In a 11-3 vote, Calgary council shot down a motion at its June 23 meeting that would have seen city administration compile a report on the implications of raising the city's debt servicing limits.
Currently, the debt servicing limit is at about 28 per cent, which is 80 per cent of the acceptable debt-servicing limit of 35 per cent determined by the Municipal Government Act (MGA).
- By Paulina Liwski and Quinton Amundson