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Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc wants to ban smoking in sidewalk cafes and restaurants in time for the summer season.

The mayor of Moncton, George LeBlanc, said at a meeting on Monday night that the city is preparing a bylaw he hopes will ban smoking from sidewalk cafes and restaurants this summer.

LeBlanc said there have been complaints about second hand smoke and cigarette butts littering Main Street sidewalks, and while legal staff draft the new bylaw, he's waiting to hear what downtown merchants think of the move.

"For the last two years I've received a number of inquiries and complaints and I have passed that on to Downtown Moncton," said LeBlanc.

However Coun. Brian Hicks isn't sure the city has the ability to ban smoking in sidewalk cafes, and said it's an issue that's already been looked at.

"What we were told at the time was that because the establishments are governed by the Liquor Act, that specifies where people can smoke," Hicks said. 

LeBlanc said in this case the provincial ban on indoor facilities is irrelevant, and it's the city that decides how its sidewalks are used.

"Now I understand that the provincial bylaw refers to indoor public places, but these outdoor cafes are regulated by us through Downtown Moncton," said LeBlanc. "My position on that is we are permitting, we are granting a licence in effect to use these on our property, we impose conditions and surely we can impose a condition regarding smoking."

Councillors agreed that the sidewalk cafes and restaurants add life to downtown, but Coun. Paulette Theriault said smoke isn't the only complaint she hears. Theriault wants to see restaurants clean up at the end of every night.

"Is there any way we could ask the operators to hose down the sidewalks once a day?" asked Theriault. "Because there's food and beverages and sometimes it doesn't smell very nice."

Moncton City Council is hoping to have a no-smoking bylaw in place in time for the summer season.