EDITORIAL: Ban on plastic bags reflects new reality

The plastic bag ban Victoria introduced in July of this year is beginning to spread to its neighbouring municipalities, however slowly.

Saanich council has determined that Vancouver Island’s largest municipality will ban single-use plastic bags by June 2020, a timeline questioned by at least one of those around the council table.

“That’s 22 months away,” Coun. Colin Plant said Monday night. “This a little bit slower than I prefer. We could have been more ambitious.”

But slow-going would seem to be the order of the day, as many municipalities in the Capital Regional District have decided to weigh the fallout from Victoria’s ban before making a decision to let the plastic out of the bag in their own communities.

Saanich’s timeline calls for council to give the bylaw first and second reading in January 2019. Consultations with the public and industry would then take place until April 2019, with council set to give the bylaw third reading by May.

Council would adopt the bylaw in June with an effective date in December 2019. Businesses would then have until June 2020 to use up the remaining plastic bags.

A cautious approach to the ban seems warranted as more than a few wrinkles remain to be ironed out. Victoria’s ban has more than a few moving pieces, as merchants are still allowed to offer small paper and other bags free for packaging items such as live fish, bulk food, small hardware items, frozen foods, flowers and potted plants, prepared foods and bakery goods. But your takeout from the local fast food franchise comes with a cost if you want it in a bag.

While these details must be worked out, it shouldn’t take two years to do so. If a ban on plastic bags is coming, then let’s get on with it.

While single-use plastic bags are convenient, much of society has already moved towards alternatives because of their environmental effects. Greener Footprints, a not-for-profit society registered in British Columbia, estimates that Canadians use up to 15 billion bags every year, or about 17,000 bags a minute.

Whether they like it or not, the public seems to have accepted that a ban on plastic bags is the new reality. And with the threat that plastics represent to our marine life, there’s no sense delaying legislation that reflects that reality.

Just Posted

Oak Bay realtor recalls sale of home where family was murdered

Home sellers not always required to disclose violent crimes

Victoria police seek witnesses after assault reported by man in wheelchair

Cops hope to speak with witnesses near Yates and Douglas on Jan. 13 between 1:45 and 3:15 p.m.

Victoria dancer shares concussion experience in a neuro-diverse performance

Stacey Horton’s Concussion explores living with and recovering from brain injury

Olympic Gold medalist rower disppointed Saanich won’t host national training centre

Adam Kreek said also he respects decision by Rowing Canada Aviron

City of Victoria denies cannabis lounge business licence

Terp City Canna Lounge has been illegally operating for several years

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Most Read