Single-use plastic bags to be banned in Okanagan? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Single-use plastic bags to be banned in Okanagan?

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

VERNON - Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming says the wheels are in motion to ban single-use plastic bags across the Okanagan by the end of 2019.

"This is a when, not an if," Cumming told

Cumming said the ban would focus on single-use plastics like plastic bags, straws and styrofoam cups. The ban will be rolled out in unison across the three Okanagan regional districts.

"Everybody is facing the same problem," Cumming said. "This isn't a regional district problem this is a Canada-wide problem."

"We're trying to do it in lock step with the Central Okanagan and the Southern Okanagan... so three regional districts, all the municipalities, ring in all the same bylaws all at the same time," Cumming said. According to the mayor, the other regional districts are all on board with the plan.

Staff at the Regional District of North Okanagan are currently drafting a single-use plastic bylaw, which the mayor said would likely follow suit with single-use plastic bans in other B.C. cities.

The City of Victoria banned single-use plastic bags in 2018 and the City of Salmon Arm is on track to introduce a ban on July 1.

Salmon Arm's bylaw prohibits businesses from giving out or selling single-use plastic bags and stipulates reusable bags must be capable of at least 100 uses. Paper bags have to be made from at least 40 per cent recycled content and businesses must charge a minimum of 15 cents for a paper bag, rising to 25 cents after a transition period.

Cumming said a transition period would take place after a bylaw was passed, and he felt citizens and businesses were in favour of the restrictions.

The bylaw does still need to be voted on and the Mayor reiterated he was one just one vote out of 15 directors at the Regional District, but pointed out a vote to draft the bylaw passed unanimously at their Feb. 27 meeting.

Cumming wouldn't put a date on when the single-use plastic bylaw would come into place, but when asked if it would be in effect by this time next year he replied, "I'd be surprised if it takes that long."

— The headline of this story was amended at 5:25 p.m. March 1. The original headline imputed more certainty about a ban than the story warrants. 

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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