St. John’s to push for ban of sin­gle-use plas­tic bags

Res­o­lu­tion to write a letter to the provin­cial gov­ern­ment passes unan­i­mously at city coun­cil meet­ing

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY GLEN WHIFFEN glen.whiffen@thetele­gram.com

If the City of St. John’s had the leg­isla­tive power to im­pose a ban on sin­gle-use plas­tic bags, city coun­cil would do it, no ques­tion, Mayor Danny Breen said Tues­day.

But the provin­cial gov­ern­ment holds that power and all the city can do is lobby for a ban to be im­posed.

At Tues­day’s city coun­cil meet­ing, coun­cil­lors unan­i­mously passed a mo­tion — made by Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’leary — to sup­port a res­o­lu­tion passed on Nov. 4 by Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador that re­quests the provin­cial gov­ern­ment to pro­hibit all re­tail stores from pro­vid­ing cus­tomers with sin­gle-use plas­tic car­ry­out (shop­ping) bags. Coun­cil also agreed to write a letter to the provin­cial gov­ern­ment out­lin­ing that sup­port.

It’s not the first time the city has ap­proached the province on the is­sue.

“I be­lieve this is prob­a­bly the third time we’ve voted on this. It goes back to Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador as well, and re­peat­edly we

have said this to the province, and re­peat­edly no ac­tion has been taken on it,” Breen said. “I think it is pretty clear from the emails, the phone calls and the com­men­tary that we get when we are out at public events that a vast ma­jor­ity of the res­i­dents, of St. John’s any­way,

and across the province are in favour of a ban on plas­tic bags.

“I think it’s time the province stepped up and put a tran­si­tion plan in place to im­ple­ment this ban. I’m pretty sure if it was in the leg­isla­tive ca­pac­ity of this coun­cil we would do it, but it’s not within our pow­ers to im­ple­ment a ban, but I cer­tainly call upon the province tonight to deal with the is­sue and move for­ward as it is an im­por­tant is­sue, not only to us as res­i­dents, but to our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren as well.”

The mo­tion read by O’leary noted that al­most 50 per cent of all wind-borne lit­ter es­cap­ing from land­fills is plas­tic, much of it sin­gle-use plas­tic bags that end up tan­gled in trees or float­ing in in­land and coastal wa­ters.

She said sin­gle-use plas­tic bags re­main a per­sis­tent waste stream in com­mu­ni­ties and an es­pe­cially se­ri­ous haz­ard for ma­rine life, not­with­stand­ing store bag re­cy­cling pro­grams, biodegrad­able bag ex­per­i­ments and wide­spread in­cen­tives to adopt re­us­able bags.

O’leary, who at­tended the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador con­fer­ence in Cor­ner Brook where the res­o­lu­tion was passed on Nov. 4, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion had the “over­whelm­ing sup­port” of its mem­ber­ship. It fol­lows a sim­i­lar 2015 res­o­lu­tion.

“The rea­son why this is ac­tu­ally back on the ta­ble again is be­cause of the fact that this grew out of a res­o­lu­tion from Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador, and it re­ceived over­whelm­ing sup­port from their mem­ber­ship, and when I was on coun­cil last time I took that over­whelm­ingly sup­ported res­o­lu­tion provincewide back to our city coun­cil to show sol­i­dar­ity will all mem­bers of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador right across the province.

“Many other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties took the same ac­tion we are tak­ing here to­day, which is to reaf­firm that the bulk of the pop­u­la­tion in our province right now are ready to see a sin­gle-use plas­tic bag ban.

“The message has to go di­rectly to the province, to the Depart­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and En­vi­ron­ment, which has cer­tainly been ap­proached with this res­o­lu­tion from so many dif­fer­ent an­gles now it’s quite in­cred­i­ble, but at present it is still a sta­tus quo re­sponse, which in this day and age, when we know how it can ben­e­fit com­mu­ni­ties, is un­ac­cept­able. So on be­half of the public it’s im­por­tant we con­tinue to be per­sis­tent.”

GLEN WHIFFEN/THE TELEGRAM

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’leary speaks to a mo­tion at St. John’s city coun­cil Tues­day to press the provin­cial gov­ern­ment to ban sin­gle-use plas­tic bags. The mo­tion passed unan­i­mously.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.