Kamloops plastic bag ban still in the works despite Court of Appeal decision - InfoNews

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Kamloops plastic bag ban still in the works despite Court of Appeal decision

The fate of plastic bags are up in the air after the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Canadian Plastic Bag Asssociation in a case against Victoria. Last summer, Victoria won a case against them in the B.C. Supreme Court.
July 11, 2019 - 6:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Two days after Kamloops city council approved a draft bylaw that would eventually see the elimination of plastic carryout bags, the B.C. Court of Appeal has released a verdict that has environmentalists worried.

The Court of Appeal was handling a case between the City of Victoria and the Canadian Plastic Bag Association. Victoria passed a bylaw that banned single-use plastic carryout bags within the city, with businesses then switching to paper and reusable bags which were purchased by the customer. The association took the bylaw to the B.C. Supreme Court last year. The Supreme Court ruled that no laws were broken, as the City of Victoria was enforcing business regulations rather than environmental.

The association won on appeal today.

Glen Cheetham, the sustainability services supervisor of Kamloops, says that despite the news, Kamloops will still move forward with the community engagement and research as the first step to solidifying the bylaw.

"We’re going to follow the direction we got from the council this week and we’re going to continue to engage the Kamloops community on this topic, and of course we’re going to review this decision and explore all the options that are available to us to go forward with the plan,” Cheetham says.

Victoria’s plastic bag bylaw had been significantly researched and received input from community members, a model Kamloops hoped to mirror. The recent decision means that adjusting the currently drafted bylaw is necessary to avoid a similar issue.

"It’s going to take some time for us to review the decision and explore our options and to help inform how we need to go forward with our plan to engage and bring this bylaw forward,” Cheetham says.

Despite the ruling, there might be ways the bylaw can be amended to not see the same fate as Victoria’s plastic bag ban. If that proves to be too risky, there are other ways to encourage ditching plastic locally.

"There have been examples of setting targets, there are regulatory approaches, and I imagine it is possible to consider incentives. I think fundamentally what we are setting out to do, regardless of the decision today, is to really go back to the community to understand what actions we can take to reduce waste, and in particular, waste associated with plastic carryout bags,” Cheetham says. “There are a lot of options available and that's something we'll certainly take into consideration.”

Cheetham says individuals and businesses in Kamloops seem to support the idea of a community without plastic bags.

“I think from our initial engagement and feedback, the business community in Kamloops was generally in support of a regulatory approach because it creates equality and predictability and it's seen as a good policy approach,” Cheetham says.

Tthe biggest impact on plastic reduction is made by an individual's desire to eliminate plastic. He encourages residents and businesses to continue reducing plastic use.

“The most powerful change would be if people made it clear through their actions and through their choices that this is important to them,” Cheetham says. “Bringing your own bag, bringing your own mug, bringing your water bottle, it's all a part of our BYO campaign and that is a very powerful way of reducing waste in our community.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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