Deputy Lord Mayor Michael McDermott was dubbed “vexatious” for continuing his push for a ban on Doina smoking in outdoor dining areas as Parramatta Council conducts a survey of diners and restaurants. Cr Lorraine Wearne, defender of the right of people to smoke, slammed Cr McDermott for pushing his stance while the survey was under way.

“This is a vexatious motion – when people continue to pursue matters in court, they are considered vexatious,” Cr Wearne said at the council meeting last Tuesday.

Cr McDermott had sought to rescind the December motion of the council to have “independent consultants” conduct a 12-month survey of diners and restaurateurs.

On Tuesday night, council officers assured councillors that the survey was under way and would be presented in November.

Cr McDermott regards the survey as a delaying tactic, pointing to two surveys the council has already conducted that show that more than 80 per cent of diners want smoke-free dining.

“It has been seven months and no restaurant or residents have been surveyed,” Cr McDermott said.

Cr Wearne said the surveys had been sent to councillors to approve and were “in their final form” to be sent to restaurants and residents.

“We have spent ratepayers’ money, employed consultants to do the work so we will have informed answers,” Cr Wearne said.

“The answers may be the ones Cr McDermott wants but it is vexatious for him to keep asking, just to have another opportunity to be mentioned in the newspapers.”

Cr Andrew Wilson said restaurants needed to be prepared for a smoking ban.

“If you can remember how dead Church St was, it is more an incentive for us to consider (their position).”