Squamish has joined 28 other municipalities in asking BC to adopt bold legislation to significantly reduce or regulate plastic use in the province.
The joint letter was presented to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change strategy in response to a call by province for its Plastic Action Plan.
The joint letter highlights five topic areas which include:
- the need for a greater focus on reduction and reuse over recycling and disposal;
- clarification of local government authority to regulate for environmental reasons through local bylaws;
- an appeal for a stepped or phased implementation approach;
- improved extended producer responsibilities; and
- sufficient consultation with key stakeholders when policy tools are developed and evaluated.
Signatories include many local governments who have or are in the process of adopting single-use plastics regulations. Victoria, Tofino, Mission, Chilliwack, Rossland, Saanich, Cumberland are some other municipalities that have signed the letter.
“Individual municipalities want to work with the Province to introduce stronger regulations around single use plastics and at the same time, protect their right to regulate local business practices. The level of collaboration we have seen in the development of this submission has real power, and it is incredibly exciting to see how we can learn from one another and adopt best practices,” said Mayor Karen Elliott.
In July, the BC Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling and set aside the City of Victoria’s Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the purpose of the bylaw was the protection of the natural environment and that it required approval from the Province of BC prior to being enacted. The City of Victoria is now asking the Supreme Court of Canada to review the decision that set aside its business bylaw.
District of Squamish stopped short of a complete ban on plastic, but is planning to impose a fees on checkout plastic bags.