Coun­cil­lors split over plas­tic ban


Canning Times - - NEWS - Jaime Shurmer

THE City of Can­ning has set itself a dead­line to re­duce or elim­i­nate sin­gle-use plas­tics at all coun­cil-run events by 2022.

But it wants to keep bal­loons out of any ban and for the sin­gle-use plas­tics pol­icy to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the es­sen­tial role plas­tic straws play in the dis­abil­ity sec­tor.

While coun­cil­lors voted unan­i­mously to achieve this out­come, the process to get there was hardly am­i­ca­ble at the May 15 meet­ing.

Coun­cil­lor Sara Saberi, sec­onded by Cr Yaso Pon­nuthu­rai, moved the item, which asked the chief ex­ec­u­tive to draw up a pol­icy for re­view by coun­cil.

But Cr Saberi was con­cerned when sev­eral coun­cil­lors wanted bal­loons ex­cluded from the pol­icy, so much so that she at one point sought to with­draw her mo­tion.

Cr Tim Porter said: “I can’t sup­port the ban­ning of bal­loons from City of Can­ning events, it just wouldn’t sit right with me.”

Cr Jesse Ja­cobs agreed and said his daugh­ter loved bal­loons. Cr Lind­say Hol­land also felt it was go­ing “way too far”.

Deputy mayor Chris­tine Cun­ning­ham high­lighted the dam­age bal­loons caused in the en­vi­ron­ment and felt the bal­loon ex­clu­sion “se­verely weak­ens” the mo­tion.

Cr Pa­trick Hall said “burn­ing bal­loons is a bridge too far” and was con­cerned me­dia head­lines would fo­cus on a bal­loon ban at the ex­pense of the sin­gle-use plas­tics pol­icy.

Cr Hall had also wanted the pol­icy to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the role plas­tic straws play in the dis­abil­ity sec­tor.

Keen to pro­ceed with the mo­tion, how­ever, sev­eral coun­cil­lors de­scribed it as “a good start” and a “water­shed mo­tion” and said all poli­cies could be re­viewed in time.

Cr Hall raised sev­eral points of or­der re­gard­ing Cr Saberi call­ing out across the coun­cil cham­bers in­stead of us­ing the mi­cro­phone to record her re­marks and go­ing through the Mayor to make com­ment.

Cr Saberi was even­tu­ally di­rected by the Mayor to with­draw a state­ment she made at the end of her clos­ing re­marks in which she had said: “Although I do feel it is fu­tile prac­tice to make a pol­icy that ex­cludes bal­loons and plas­tics when you are try­ing to phase it out, if this is the way the coun­cil wants to go then I’ll sup­port it, and yeah, maybe we can look at it down the track, hope­fully, and when we have new coun­cil­lors.”

The coun­cil­lor agreed to with­draw the re­mark.

The coun­cil au­tho­rised chief ex­ec­u­tive Arthur Ky­ron to pre­pare a pol­icy for coun­cil’s con­sid­er­a­tion and he will also write to lo­cal busi­ness and event or­gan­is­ers to sug­gest al­ter­na­tives and ed­u­ca­tional re­sources.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive will also launch a com­mu­nity cam­paign to en­cour­age the re­duc­tion of sin­gle-use plas­tics.

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