Salmon Arm may be among first in B.C. to ban plastic bags - InfoNews

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Salmon Arm may be among first in B.C. to ban plastic bags

The City of Salmon Arm is aiming to ban plastic bags.
Image Credit: PIXABAY
February 20, 2019 - 5:30 PM

SALMON ARM - The City of Salmon Arm is aiming to be one of the first cities in the province to ban single-use plastic bags.

The city is pushing ahead with its plan to ban them and has scheduled a series of public consultations taking place over the next few months. If the plan goes ahead and council vote to outlaw the bags the new bylaw will come into place July 1.

Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison told iNFOnews.ca banning single-use plastic bags was "the right thing to do."

"I think our community wants to try to make a difference and this is one small way each person can contribute and make a difference to both the reduction of landfill and reduction in general," Harrison said.

The bylaw will be modelled on the City of Victoria's single-use plastic bag ban which came into place July 2018 and the mayor said had been a success. Harrison also pointed to Fort McMurray and Montreal as places with plastic bag bans and didn't see the lack of cities in B.C. with bans as a sign people didn't support it. The mayor said the Union of B.C. Municipalities had over the last few years passed motions to bring in a plastic bag ban at the provincial level. The province, in turn, passed the responsibility to local government.

"We feel very confident it's something that's doable and it's the right thing to do," Harrison said. "Why not be a leader? And we'd like to lead in that way in Salmon Arm."

If the bylaw is successful it will prohibit businesses from giving out or selling single-use plastic bags and there will be a six month transition period allowing businesses to use their existing plastic bag stock. It's estimated the ban will affect 175 retail stores and 50 food outlets.

The bylaw will also stipulate paper bags must be made from at least 40 per cent recycled content and a reusable bag must be capable of at least 100 uses. Businesses must charge a minimum of 15 cents for a paper bag, rising to 25 cents after the transition period and $1 for a re-useable bag, rising to $2 after the transition period. Businesses will also be prohibited for giving them out free of charge.

According to the city report, several meetings have been scheduled to take place between the city and businesses over the next few months. A public hearing is also set to take place in June, although the report notes this is not technically required for this type of bylaw.

Mayor Harrison said outside of the formal engagement process soon to start, he'd spoken to several businesses already who were "philosophically" on board with the ban.

"I think it's a matter of habit-changing," the mayor said.

Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce president Fiona Harris welcomed the City's move.

"From the chamber's perspective we're certainly environmentally conscientious... and I think movement in that direction... is something our chamber would certainly support," Harris said.


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