South Okanagan regional district favours provincial or federal single use plastics ban - InfoNews

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South Okanagan regional district favours provincial or federal single use plastics ban

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June 20, 2019 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - A single provincial or federally led ban on single use plastics is needed if such a ban can be expected to work in the regional district.

That was the general consensus of Regional District Okanagan Similkameen’s board of directors, who discussed support for a federal or provincial ban at the regular board meeting today, June 20.

Board members were being asked to approve an expression of support for a single use plastics ban to the provincial and federal governments.

The regional district’s environmental and infrastructure committee agreed last March to work with the Central Okanagan and North Okanagan Regional Districts to combine efforts to ban the use of single plastic bags, and there have been ongoing discussions between the three regional districts since then about plastic bag bans.

Regional district solid waste coordinator Cameron Baughen said the discussion involved creating a plastic bag ban in municipalities through their business licensing. He said the North Okanagan Regional District recently passed first reading of such a bylaw, which would be unique in the province. A legal review is being done prior to passing the bylaw, Baughen said.

The Central Okanagan has committed $30,000 towards work on a single use plastics ban. How that money would be spent is still to be decided.

Baughen also advised directors to wait until current litigation involving the City of Victoria's plastic bag ban is complete before looking at bylaws applicable to a single use ban in the regional district.

Currently in the province, a patchwork of plastic bans are in place across the province.

“Our preferred approach would be to approach the federal or provincial governments to deal with a plastics ban, which is what we have here today,” Baughen said.

A single use plastic ban would involve public consultation, with no funds allocated for such a move in 2019. Baughen said public consultation could take place as a stand alone project or as part of the full review of the district’s solid waste management plan in 2020.

Directors agreed a provincial or national ban would be needed in order to be effective.

Naramata director Karla Kozakevich said it was likely there would be several resolutions regarding the issue coming forward at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.

“Everyone’s doing something different,” she said, adding the regional district may want to consider looking at further public education.

Oliver rural director Rick Knodel said the board needed to look at the issue differently.

He said governments continue to support expanding use of single use plastics in new products, using Keurig cups as an example.

“We need a different approach to this when we actually stop the products at the source and not deal with it after it has become part of our society,” Knodel said.

Penticton director Jake Kimberley urged the board to work with the Central and North Okanagan Regional Districts to promote a provincial ban, saying the three regional district carried ‘political clout.’

He suggested a collective motion made to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, but chief administrative officer Bill Newell noted a resolution concerning the issue was already coming forward to the convention.

The board agreed unanimously to encourage support for a provincial or federal ban.

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