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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan Lanes bowlers take on the best in B.C.

The best results for the Cowichan Valley bowlers came in the intermediate girls division

Sonia Furstenau column: Now the time to make changes for the better

This coronavirus has given us opportunity to identify what matters most in our day-to-day lives.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Drivesmart column: Staying on your side of the road

No exemptions that grant permission to disobey the keeping to the right rule based on convenience.

Mary Lowther column: Starting seeds to beat the slugs, wood bugs

My favourite sorts of seedling starters are the plastic cells that fit inside trays

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read