The issue of what the City of Campbell River will do in regards to implementing a bylaw to restrict the use of single-use plastic bags came back before council on Monday.
Back in January, the city decided during a Committee of the Whole meeting to continue “monitoring other communities’ progress on their ban of single-use plastic bags to determine the best course of action for council’s review,” and asked staff to research the subject and report back to council rather than move forward with the creation of its own bylaw.
That staff report was presented to council this week, highlighting the steps other nearby communities have taken on the subject.
The City of Courtenay, for example, will begin enforcing its Single Use Plastics Regulation Bylaw on March 31 next year after a phase-in period. Cumberland’s ban will begin to be enforced in January of next year. The Town of Comox will begin enforcing its ban in January, as well, but does allow for some exceptions, such as wrap that covers meat and frozen foods, wrapped flowers and drycleaning bags, as do many other bylaws introduced by various communities.
Further down-Island, Qualicum Beach, the District of Tofino, District of Uclulet, District of Sooke, City of Colwood, District of Saanich, Township of Esquimalt and City of Nanaimo all have bylaws already in place or are in the process of drafting them.
Over on the Mainland, the city’s report says, the City of Vancouver adopted a “Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy” in June 2018, which will lead to specific bylaws surrounding requirements, enforcement, phasing and education plans for plastic straws, plastic and paper shopping bags, disposable cups and utensils being brought forth for consideration by council this coming November. Squamish, Salmon Arm, the Cariboo Regional District and the District of North Vancouver are also well along the path to regulating the items.
At the provincial level, both Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland have moved forward with province-wide bans on single-use plastic bags, and New Brunswick is in discussions surrounding the idea.
And, of course, the federal government announced this past June that it will be taking steps to ban single-use plastics including bags, straws, cutlery and stir sticks as early as 2021.
The report was presented to council and will be referred to the city’s Environmental Advisory Committee for input, but no movement was made towards instructing staff to begin the creation of a bylaw.