Plastic bag ban coming for Delta?

A plastic bag ban could be on the horizon for the City of Delta.

The province over the weekend announced it is moving to approve bylaws banning single-use plastics for the municipalities of Richmond, Victoria, Saanich, Tofino and Ucluelet, clearing the way for those communities to implement their bans.

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The province will also consider other bylaws as they are submitted.

Last fall, Delta council took steps to reduce the use of single-use plastic items at civic facilities, but didn’t go so far as to introduce a bylaw to ban plastic bags unless the province gives the go-ahead.

Seaquam Secondary students Carroll Gao, Rayne Inkster and Ashley Meagher last year gave a presentation to council on their “Ban the Bag Delta” campaign.

They noted there are alternatives to plastic bags including bio-degradable bags, paper bags and reusable bags. Wanting the city to implement a plastic ban bag, they noted such a ban won’t be easy as it requires a change in people’s behaviour.

A Delta staff report at the time noted local governments, including Delta, had been lobbying senior levels of government for action given the uncertainty regarding municipal jurisdiction to regulate single-use plastics.

There had been announcements by the federal and provincial governments indicating actions would be taken to reduce the number of single-use items, so staff recommended support for actions identified in the province’s Plastics Action Plan: Policy Consultation Paper, including reducing single-use plastics at Delta’s facilities and community events.

“Given the recent attention to this issue at the federal and provincial level, it appears as though a coordinated approach, including province-wide regulations, is now likely. During discussion at the committee meeting, the benefits of a coordinated approach to regulating single-use items was noted. The example of Scott Road in North Delta was provided where businesses across the street from each other could potentially have different regulations related to single-use items if managed by municipal bylaws,” the report noted.

The report also explained the City of Victoria’s bylaw banning plastic bags was successfully challenged in court by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association, which claimed the city did not have the jurisdiction to prohibit plastic bags or the authority to regulate the environment, which is provincial jurisdiction.

The Delta report added that it was expected a new provincial policy and regulatory amendments would be introduced.

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