Oak Bay set to survey businesses on single-use plastic products

Survey gathers information ahead of expected legislation on provincial, federal level

In January 2019, Grade 5 students from Glenlyon Norfolk School, accompanied by Grade 11 student Anastasia Castro, gave a presentation to Oak Bay council seeking a ban on plastic bags in the district. (Black Press Media file photo)

In January 2019, Grade 5 students from Glenlyon Norfolk School, accompanied by Grade 11 student Anastasia Castro, gave a presentation to Oak Bay council seeking a ban on plastic bags in the district. (Black Press Media file photo)

Oak Bay officially deferred crafting regulation around single-use plastics but will embark on input gathering from businesses.

The June 14 vote confirms the decision made during a May 17 committee meeting, but Coun. Andrew Appleton took the opportunity to reiterate his concern over the wait.

“I see no reason not to move forward in a more speedy action on this,” he said.

RELATED: Pandemic not a time to pursue single-use plastics ban, Oak Bay council concurs

Oak Bay will wait on provincial and federal legislation on single-use plastics in general before pursing its own regulations. In the interim, staff will survey local businesses through licensing and the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association. That will include such questions as what businesses are already doing to reduce the use of single-use items, as well as assess the level of interest for developing local regulations in the future.

Appleton noted the change of tone, to single-use plastics more broadly than checkout bags, something young people in the community came to council pitching in 2019.

His refreshed argument that the district has the capacity and intent to implement a plastic bag bylaw, similar to neighbouring municipalities, garnered no extra votes around the table.

“I believe that we are in a place to enact a plastic bag bylaw now. I am of the opinion that is what the community would like to see us move forward on. I would like to see us leave an option open to pursue a plastic bag ban bylaw even before the other work contemplated in this motion is complete,” he said.

READ ALSO: Victoria’s bylaw banning plastic bags back in effect

The survey will target information such as what types of single-use plastics are currently used by local businesses, and what they expect to reduce or eliminate in the near future. Staff hope to circulate a draft to council for comment in July with a goal of distributing the survey by September.

Council next meets as committee of the whole on June 21. Meetings are streamed online at oakbay.civicweb.net/portal and start at 7 p.m.

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