A recent announcement by the province gets Kamloops one step closer to banning plastic carryout bags.
Last week, the province announced it is approving municipal bylaws banning single-use plastics for the communities of Richmond, Victoria, Saanich, Tofino and Ucluelet.
Last year, the BC Court of Appeal, the province’s highest court, ruled that the City of Victoria did not get appropriate approval from the environment minister before enacting the bylaw.
The Canadian Plastic Bag Association had been fighting the ban, arguing municipalities don’t have authority to regulate the environment. The ban was upheld in BC Supreme Court, but the association appealed and won.
Now, the minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is providing the necessary approval.
“People have been consistent and vocal about the need to take serious action now on plastic waste and pollution and we have heard the message loud and clear,” B.C.’s environment minister, George Heyman, said in a press release.
“Even in the face of current economic downturns, local governments and businesses have told us they remain committed to preventing millions of single-use plastic products from damaging the environment, polluting B.C.’s waters, harming wildlife and increasing costs for taxpayers.”
Coun. Dale Bass pushed a ban on single-use plastics at city hall. She said a draft bylaw banning plastic carryout bags in Kamloops was based on Victoria’s bylaw.
“I’m really glad Michele Hadley brought this to my attention, when she was meeting with members of the public,” Coun. Bass said. “And she made a powerful presentation to council that helped at least get plastic bags included in the notice of motion I brought forward.”
Bass said she was unhappy when plastic straws and cutlery were amended out of her notice of motion and was thrilled by news from the province. The province said it will consider other bylaws as they are submitted and lay groundwork to allow local governments to ban certain types of plastic products — shopping bags, straws, takeout containers — via a new regulation under the Community Charter, without requiring provincial approval. In addition, milk and milk-alternative containers will be added to the Return-It deposit-refund system.
“They’re [province] actually addressing the entire issue, not just bags,” Bass said.