(Black Press Media file photo)

(Black Press Media file photo)

Pandemic not a time to pursue single-use plastics ban, Oak Bay council concurs

Concerns over business community at heart of waiting game

Perception is key and held major sway in how Oak Bay council voted to put off any potential action against single-use plastics this year.

Staff presented council, sitting as committee May 17, with a pair of options to consider in handling the bags frequently issued to shoppers who don’t bring reusable bags.

Staff noted in a report, that legislation around single-use plastics in Canada is evolving with potential changes imminent at the provincial and federal levels. That and the ongoing challenges the COVID-19 pandemic is putting on businesses creates a challenging time, staff noted. It was a sentiment those at the table agreed with.

RELATED: It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge Coun. Andrew Appleton supported the second option, to pursue a bylaw and craft timelines for implementation of a ban on commercial distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags, that would bring Oak Bay to par with neighbouring communities.

“It provides for the initial development of the bylaw but specifically requires and specifically outlines the need for consultation with local businesses before implantation,” he said.

Ultimately council opted to wait, and have staff come back in the fall with an update on where senior levels of government stand. An addition to the final motion included outreach to the business community.

RELATED: Victoria’s bylaw banning plastic bags back in effect

Appleton opposed. “I have my doubts whether that will come to pass in 2021,” he said.

Adjacent to Oak Bay, Victoria revised its single-use plastic bylaw after a legal challenge, and the new law came into effect in April. On March 15, Saanich voted unanimously to bring its checkout bag regulation bylaw for final adoption on June 21.

All decisions made during committee are recommendations to council and not officially approved until ratified.

Agendas are posted and meetings streamed at oakbay.civicweb.net. Council next meets May 25 at 7 p.m.


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