The City of Enderby has chosen not to implement a ban on plastic bags or single-use plastics, at least for the time being.
A recent provincial regulation allows municipalities to create their own bylaws regulating the use of plastic bags and single-use plastics. In July 2021 the province allowed local governments to ban single-use plastics without requiring ministerial approval. More than 20 municipalities are developing bylaws, the province said in October 2021. Salmon Arm is among the cities working on a bylaw, which will come into effect July 1.
The B.C. government has said it will begin to phase out single-use plastics in early 2023. Meanwhile the federal government’s draft regulations prohibiting certain single-use plastics are in the public feedback stage as of December 2021.
According to a memo to Enderby council, staff would be in favour of making a bylaw if it weren’t for the fact that the provincial and federal governments are already in the process of implementing their own regulations. Staff recommended against adopting a bylaw because forthcoming provincial legislation may make the city’s authority on the matter moot.
“A cohesive provincial and federal regulatory framework will be easier for the public and businesses to follow, rather than a patchwork of bylaws across jurisdictions,” the memo states.
City staff were directed to monitor forthcoming provincial and federal legislation around plastic waste and report back to council for analysis.
“Once the provincial and federal regulations are enacted, if there remains a separate and distinct need for the matter to be regulated by local government, council has indicated its willingness to reconsider the matter,” CAO Tate Bengtson said by email. “For now, they want to wait to ensure that there is not a duplication or overlapping of regulatory authority before committing resources.”
If a municipality makes a bylaw banning single-use plastics, it must have an exemption to allow businesses to provide an accessible straw for people with disabilities.