Delays likely if North Okanagan goes ahead with plastic bag ban | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Delays likely if North Okanagan goes ahead with plastic bag ban

July 15, 2019 - 5:30 PM

NORTH OKANAGAN - A proposed single-use plastic bag ban put forward by the Regional District of North Okanagan will likely be delayed following last week's court decision quashing the City of Victoria's bylaw, but could still go ahead if the board votes to continue on with the ban.

Regional District directors voted unanimously in May in the first step towards approving a single-use plastic bag ban and were scheduled to vote again July 17 on whether to adopt the bylaw.

However, a July 11 Court of Appeal decision stating the City of Victoria's current bylaw wasn't valid as it needed provincial approval, means if the regional district board does decide to continue with the plastic bag ban they'll also have to seek provincial approval.

Regional District community services general manager Mike Fox said if the directors decide to vote in favour of the ban in a second and third reading, instead of adopting the bylaw as would usually happen, the bylaw will then be sent to the province for provincial approval. Fox said it was unclear how long it would take the province to make a decision on the bylaw.

Fox said it wasn't unusual for the province to have to approve bylaws, as several tax bylaws received provincial approval before being adopted by the regional district.

Prior to the Court of Appeal's decision, if regional district directors had voted in support of the ban, it was likely to come into place January 2020. Businesses would then be given a six-month transition period before enforcement came into place.

The bylaw would prohibit businesses from giving out or selling disposal plastic bags and impose a mandatory minimum 15 cents charge for paper bags and $1 for reusable bags. The bylaw also required reusable bags to be capable for at least 100 uses and primarily be made from cloth or other washable fabric.

The regional district had also drawn up a draft plastic bag bylaw in the hope municipalities in the North Okanagan would also approve the same legislation keeping the rules uniform.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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