Local shops are staying plastic free. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria shops avoid plastic bags, despite bylaw being voided

The city is working on getting the bylaw re-established

Despite the plastic bag ban bylaw being dissolved, many businesses are sticking to the plastic-free options.

On Thursday the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the City of Victoria’s application for a leave to appeal a BC Appeals Court decision that dismissed the bylaw in July.

In a hearing against the Canadian Plastic Bag Association, the BC Court of Appeals found that the City had overstepped its reach, by writing an environmental bylaw rather than an economic bylaw, meaning it needed provincial approval.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps wasn’t too concerned, saying that despite the ruling in the summer very few businesses have picked up plastic once again.

ALSO READ: Lisa Helps ‘disappointed, not surprised’ by Supreme Court decision to not hear plastic bag bylaw appeal

“[Our] recent scans tell us that our community continues to avoid plastic bags despite these setbacks,” Helps said. “Moving forward, we’re going to continue to look for every opportunity to reduce plastic waste, which includes working with our provincial and national governments to develop high and shared standards.”

Red Barn Market is just one of these businesses; the chain, which has seven grocery stores across the Capital Region is sticking to charging for paper or reusable bags.

“It’s the consumer that dictates that, and our consumers are asking for that,” said co-owner Russ Benwell, adding that charges only cover the purchasing price of the bags. “I think Greater Victoria is very environmentally conscious and our consumers are really happy… we have no intentions of bringing plastic back.”

The city is working on eliminating single use plastics in general throughout the city, but will start by submitting a revised version of the bylaw to the provincial government for review in upcoming weeks.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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