Consultations are underway, as the city looks at banning businesses from using plastic carry-out bags. In mid-June, the city will mail out a survey to the approximate 1,500 business license holders in Kamloops. It will also be distributed through the city’s business groups.
“Very high level survey,” City of Kamloops sustainability services supervisor Glen Cheetham said. “It’ll be looking to understand the type of business they are, the type of category they do business in, looking at whether they have any provisions in place to reduce the distribution of plastic bags, whether they charge for them or whether they provide or support alternatives, like distributing paper bags or using some kind of reusable bag. That survey is designed also to understand the concerns or impacts the business community have, give them a chance to let us know and we will try to bring them into the discussion and the analysis, when we present a report to council in July.”
The city’s development, engineering and sustainability committee met on Tuesday afternoon, at which an update was provided on the draft bylaw to ban plastic carry-out bags.
Cheetham said initial stakeholder engagements are underway, internally among the city’s bylaws and business licensing departments, but focused on businesses, to which the greatest impact will be felt. Meetings are also underway with the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, North Shore Business Improvement Association and Kamloops Uptown Business Association. Kamloops Accommodation Association and Kamloops Chamber of Commerce have requested to be included in the conversations. The Retail Council of Canada is meanwhile requesting a harmonized provincial approach, as opposed to piecemeal regulations at the municipal level. Coun. Arjun Singh said the province won’t likely be making changes anytime soon and noted “more support than pushback” for the ban in Kamloops to date.
Cheetham said the city is using the City of Victoria’s bylaw as a model, in addition to looking at what several other municipalities are doing.
“The Victoria bylaw and others have focussed on what is basically a carry-out bag, which is really a bag that is used for the purpose of transporting items purchased by a customer or to deliver to a customer from a business and to be used for carrying retail items or packaged takeout, delivery of food,” Cheetham said. “It’s really a bag with handles. They don’t, however, include bags without handles, bags for poultry or for bulk items.”
Singh wondered what Victoria has spent on the initiative, having been sued and also on an extensive marketing campaign. That information was not available. The draft bylaw will come to council on July 9, at which time council will provide input on the timeline, implementation strategy and engagement. A phase-in period is expected. Further stakeholder engagements will follow, after business consultations.