Councillors split over plastic ban
BID TO EXCLUDE BALLOONS
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.