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Watch your butt, Cobourg warns

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today


A chronic litter problem in downtown Cobourg should be addressed by adding cigarette butts to the examples of waste in the town's 2009 waste bylaw, council determined this week.

At its committee of the whole session, council authorized the amendment and discussed the number of complaints this one item had spurred.

"It's something near and dear to my heart, because I have been doing so many business calls on downtown businesses — and one of the complaints I hear most often is the cigarette butts," Mayor Gil Brocanier said.

Brocanier recounted a recent visit to a downtown store, where a portion of the sidewalk was so thickly littered with cigarette butts that it was impossible to avoid stepping on them.

"It was absolutely disgusting," he declared.

Councillor Forrest Rowden suggested an educational program — and the suggestion to downtown businesses that seem to attract smokers that they put up outdoor receptacles.

"I totally agree this is something that has to be addressed," Deputy Mayor Stan Frost said.

"But along with passing a bylaw, we will need to make sure we have effective communications on this. I have seen billboards in South Carolina to the effect that, 'Our state is not an ashtray.' I think we can possibly afford that sort of sign around town: 'Our town is not an ashtray. Please be responsible.'"

Meanwhile, Councillor Donna Todd wondered who is responsible for clearing away cigarette butts.

"What we have been doing is, we go to the business owner where the butts are and say, 'You are responsible for clearing up the front of your store or your place of business,'" the mayor said.

"So far, it has been successful."

"Some time, we also have to be prepared to address the issue in the waterfront and harbour area," Frost added.

"People still like to drive their cars down there and look at the birds and the pretty boats, and throw their butts out on the ground."


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