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Courtenay set to ban single-use plastics

COURTENAY, B.C. – Courtenay council is about to pass a bylaw that will ban single-use plastic bags and straws.

The final reading of the bylaw has been delayed by a week, with an amendment tacked on for enforcement to take effect on March 31st, 2020.

This will give businesses a longer grace period, and extra time to adapt to the change noted councillor Melanie McCollum.

“The original bylaw, as it read, said that enforcement would begin six months after the bylaw went into effect but we’ve changed that to allow nine months,” McCollum said.

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Council gave the Single Use Plastics Regulation Bylaw First, Second and Third Readings at the April 15th meeting.

McCollum said that she would be “shocked” if the final reading isn’t passed by council members.

If passed, the bylaw will take effect on July 1st.

“The idea is that the bylaw goes into force, but the actual banning of (single-use) plastic bags, etc. won’t take effect until next year,” Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said.

“That just gives that transition time for more businesses to prepare and use up whatever bags that they might have left in their inventory.”

Wells said people around the world are realizing that it’s time to phase out single-use plastics.

“It’s something that impacts our environment, whether we see it or not,” Wells said. “We’ve talked about doing this pretty much since the election back in October, but we sort of look to the federal government, who made an announcement over the weekend, and we thank the federal government for following our leadership as municipalities to push this cause forward.”

Wells said there is a lot of “inter-connectedness” between single-use plastics and their impact on pollution, global warming, and the world’s oceans.

“This is admittedly probably a small step, but it’s a step to start the movement and try to get the best bang for the buck right out of the gate,” he said.

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