CITY of Vincent councillors have rejected a change of use application for a commercial premises in Highgate that would have allowed a members-only cigar bar to operate at the premises.
The applicant has State Government approvals under the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 to open Cigar Social, which would be a private meeting place for members to buy and smoke cigars, tobacco products and accessories, at the corner of Lord and Windsor streets and was seeking a change of use from ‘shop’ to ‘unlisted use (cigar bar)’ to proceed.
Deputy Mayor Susan Gontaszewski said the change of use was not complicit with the adjacent commercial offerings.
Ms Gontaszewski said the community would benefit from an alternative use at the site that complied with the current ‘shop’ zoning.
Before councillors considered the item, a Health Department representative spoke on behalf of the applicant – entrepreneur Nick Russell.
“Under the current Tobacco Act it is not deemed to be a public place so smoking is permitted inside,” he said.
Cancer Council WA Cancer Prevention and Research director Melissa Ledger told councillors that the Cancer Council was concerned about the proposed cigar bar because smoking had been banned in public places since 2006.
Ms Ledger said the application exploited a loophole in current legislation.
She said a cigar bar suggested that cigar smoking was “elite”.
“Cigars are just as toxic and carcinogenic as cigarettes, and should not be glamorised,” Ms Ledger said.
“The concept of an indoor smoking lounge is antiquated and has no place in a modern, vibrant city.”