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Council demands health officials to follow through on food stand closure order

By Jennifer Vo

August 30, 2013

The Sachem

Haldimand County Council is lobbying to the Health Unit to move forward with their court issued closure order against the Argyle Street South food stand on the outskirts of Caledonia.

At the Tuesday, August 27 Council in Committee meeting, Councillor Craig Grice brought the issue forward in light of the hamburger stand re-opening and serving food to the public despite lacking health approvals.

Council members questioned how far along health officials are in moving through their legal channels to get the food stand shut down. Since the county has no authority over the Health Unit, Grice requested sending a letter directly to Norfolk County.

The provincial government has designated Norfolk County has the board of health, approving decisions that affect public health services for both Haldimand and Norfolk Counties.

The letter would request Norfolk Council to direct the Health Unit to reinforce, through public education, the health concerns of the smoke and food operation, and to encourage them to utilize their court order to close the food stand.

Council approved sending the correspondence out to Norfolk as well as have copies sent to the Health and Social Services Advisory Committee, various provincial Ministers including the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Infrastructure, Transportation and Community Safety as well as the Premier of Ontario.

“I’ll gladly support the motion,” said Councillor Tony Dalimonte, whose ward is being used to house the hamburger stand and adjacent smoke shop. “You have to go and drag [some Ministers] by the hand out here because some of them don’t know what’s on the other side of the Gardiner Expressway.”

Sandy Stevens, program manager of the Environmental Health Team for Haldimand-Norfolk, confirmed that the Health Unit is still working with the lawyers to prepare their next course of action, and nothing has been filed in court yet.

Health officials previously issued a closure order to the hamburger stand on July 12 for violating the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

The Health Unit is the only body that has received a court order to have the hamburger stand closed, while the county’s injunction application is still being dealt with in court.

“I believe it’s [the Health Unit’s] responsibility and their duty to move forward with that,” said Mayor Ken Hewitt, adding that the Health Unit has stated before that they’re only concerned about compliance within their own jurisdiction and that health officials would grant approvals if the food stand met health standards.

The county’s injunction application stated that the business is also violating building and fire codes as well as zoning bylaws.

“Compliance can’t be partial compliance. It has to be full compliance. That’s the message that I think we have to continue to get across,” said the Mayor.