The Fort Frances Curling Club decided by the slimmest of margins not to butt out this season.
Members voted 50-48 at its annual general meeting Wednesday night to continue to allow smoking in the lounge area of the Eighth Street facility.
Club president Bill Gushulak was surprised at how close the vote was.
“I thought it would have gone stronger one way or the other,” said Gushulak. “It makes it easier for us that, with a close vote, that smoking was kept.
“It would have been hard to sell the idea [to the membership and the club executive] to change things with it being so close,” he added.
Gushulak guessed a possible decline in revenue if smoking was banned—due to lower registration numbers and decreased liquor sales in the lounge—played the biggest part in the vote’s outcome.
“If we were a solvent club, without any debts to pay, we could afford to lose people,” he remarked. “Those 50 people tonight decided it would be too much of a risk to the club to lose any members.”
Based on last night’s decision, Gushulak said the club executive now will look at revamping the facility’s ventilation system to help lessen the quantity of second-hand smoke present.
It also will discuss the creation of a designated smoking area in the facility.