City of Salmon Arm staff have been directed by council to draft a bylaw to ban single-use plastic shopping bags. (File photo)

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

The City of Salmon Arm is proceeding with work on a proposed ban of single-use plastic shopping bags.

At Monday’s council meeting, council voted unanimously in support of a resolution by Mayor Alan Harrison to direct city staff to draft a bylaw for the ban, to be included in a report with a recommended stakeholder engagement process and communication plan. Implementation of the bylaw would coincide with the start of organic curbside pick-up on July 1, 2019.

Harrison spoke to each of the “whereas” points behind the resolution, the first noting the per capita rate of single-use plastic shopping bags in Canada is estimated to be 200 per year.

“So I thought, well, even if the people of Salmon Arm use 100 per year, that would mean we in Salmon Arm go through 1.7 million single-use plastic bags per year. It’s probably more, but that would be a conservative number,” said Harrison.

The mayor’s second point is that many of these bags wind up in the landfill.

“I’m guilty of that because we use our single use plastic bags in our garbage… and then I put those, we put those in a garbage bag, which goes to the garbage dump, which is not very environmentally friendly,” said Harrison. “We also know many of those single-use plastic bags end up in the wilderness, in water and places that we don’t want them.”

Related: Salmon Arm mayor proposes plastic bag ban for new year

Related: Montreal’s city-wide plastic bag ban starts now

Next, Harrison said there are alternatives to using single-use plastic bags, and that cities across North America have passed regulations prohibiting single-use bags.

Harrison emphasized the importance of communication, with both retailers and the public.

“Retailers have spoken to me already – a number of them and they are not against this idea,” said Harrison. “They’re also thinking of the environment, and many of our retailers already charge for single-use plastic bags and are providing alternatives.

“So that stakeholder engagement is very important. And of course a communication plan to not just retailers but to customers like us is important.”

Regarding the implementation date, Harrison explained that with the curbside pick-up or organics, residents would receive special bins that should eliminate the need for plastic bags.

Related: Victoria first B.C. municipality to adopt plastic bag ban

“Now the reason you won’t have to use single-use plastic bags in the garbage in your house is nothing wet will go in that garbage can because all of your compost materials will go in a container,” said Harrison. “Those single-use plastic bags will not be needed for that anymore and one of my worries is, if we don’t have a bylaw like this…, they’re going to end up everywhere else and I don’t want that to happen. Also, it’s not necessary, so if we can do our part – each person do our part and curb the use of 1.7 million plastic bags in Salmon Arm, then I think we’ve done something and it’s possible.”

Responding to Coun. Kevin Flynn’s concern that the city might not be able to undertake proper stakeholder consultation by July 1, Harrison suggested Salmon Arm emulate the City of Victoria which, after implementing its ban on single-use plastic bags, chose not to enforce the bylaw for six months.

He said this gave the public time to get used to it and retailers time to use up their bag inventory and find workable alternatives.

“While the time line sounds ambitious for July 1, I think it’s important we pass the bylaw by that time with the understanding that the first six months following it is going to be an education for everyone,” said Harrison. “I suspect two years from now, we’re going to be living without plastic bags and we won’t even remember why that happened.”


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Rec users are not entitled to access to range

DND land is excluded from local control, says letter writer

Foot ferry service in Nanaimo won’t happen this summer

Island Ferries says it still needs to secure funding

Goalie gear found in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Mounties want to return goalie gear to owner

Thieves steal tents meant for Nanaimo school’s Grade 7 camping trip

Businesses, staff and parents ensure trip goes on

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Strengthening privacy laws should be an election issue

In other places, political parties are held to the highest standards of openness, says letter writer

Timbermen beat league’s first-place team

Nanaimo’s senior A lacrosse team handles Maple Ridge Burrards 11-6

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Suggested street names bizarre

Letter writer would be mortified to live on any of Lantzville councillor’s bizarrely named streets

Complex with more than 200 apartments pitched for Nanaimo’s south end

Construction planned for next spring on Junction Avenue in Chase River

Nanaimo teachers’ union president worries new deal could see job losses

Teachers’ federation and Ministry of Education negotiating with contract expiring at month’s end

Historian recalls Nanaimo’s drunken disorder back in 1890

Imagine the seamen’s surprise when they found themselves inside a brewery, writes columnist

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Most Read