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Residents press City of Quesnel to ban single-use plastics

Council has asked staff to develop a report before making any decision
Friends Deanna Windsor, Konny Kadenbach and Barbara Sharp hope city council will take a progressive stance on reducing single-use plastics in Quesnel and develop a policy ban. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)

Like many people, Konny Kadenbach and Barbara Sharp are worried about the environmental impacts of plastics.

Their letters outlying their concerns to the City of Quesnel sparked a discussion at a regular council meeting Tuesday, June 7, on developing a policy banning single-use plastics.

“The recycling that has been happening in the community is good, but it’s not solving the problem. I think all around B.C. communities are starting to become more concerned about the use of plastics, and it’s time we start to address it,” Sharp said following the meeting.

“I’m really happy that council has decided to look into this.”

Council unanimously endorsed the recommendation that staff develops a report to council outlining current and future measures by the provincial and federal government and what lessons other municipalities have learned going forward.

Councillor Scott Elliott said he knows that more than 20 municipalities across the province are moving forward with developing bylaws banning single-use plastics.

He works at BC Liquor and noted their stores have switched from plastic to paper and encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags.

“I love the initiative, and I’m hoping we can move forward after staff looks at it,” he added.

Read More: B.C. cities will no longer need provincial approval to launch single-use plastic ban

The BC Government amended regulation under the community charter last year, allowing local governments to ban single-use plastics, including plastic checkout bags, polystyrene foam containers and plastic utensils, noted Quesnel city councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg. Previously, municipalities required ministerial approval to implement a plastics ban.

Councillor Mitch Vik owns the retail entertainment store K-Max and said his business adapted from plastic to paper long ago.

“In principle, I would agree with a ban, especially in light of the challenges we face with our landfill, and this would certainly alleviate some pressure,” Vik said.

“My only thought is this affects restaurants more than regular retail type operations. If we were to move down this path, I would hope we would consult with restaurants, especially of the fast-food nature, so they would have adequate time to adjust their business to accommodate such a move as this.”

Councillor Ron Paull said he would support a ban on single-use plastics, although he would feel much more comfortable if it were a provincial ban rather than a patchwork quilt of municipalities.

He also asked how it would apply to smaller single-use plastics such as bags used in retail bulk, meat and produce departments.

“The province doesn’t run our landfill,” said mayor Bob Simpson. “We do, and this has direct implications for us, so I think the onus is on us to look at all of our waste streams.”

Kadenbach and Sharp encourage others to reduce their plastic usage and consider eco-friendly alternatives to plastic.

At the meeting, they were joined by their friend Deanna Windsor who also supports a ban on single-use plastics in Quesnel.

Read More: UBC scientists aim to put plastic in the past with 2 new inventions

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