Saanich is one step closer to having a plastic bag ban after the province gave the bylaw a seal of approval.
On March 11, council was notified that the B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy had reviewed and approved the proposed checkout bag regulation bylaw the District submitted for consideration in November 2019.
In mid-2019, Saanich council passed a bylaw banning plastic checkout bags which was set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The bylaw was similar to that of the City of Victoria’s which was implemented in July 2018 and was later struck down after the Plastic Bag Association brought the issue to the B.C. Court of Appeal.
Influenced by Victoria’s legal battle, Saanich council voted to repeal their original plastic checkout bag bylaw and move forward with a replacement bylaw specifically aimed at protection of the natural environment. It was sent to the provincial government for approval.
Receiving the Minister’s blessing allows council to move forward with the final adoption of the plastic bag ban bylaw.
“Saanich has declared a climate emergency and the elimination of checkout bags is a small but important step toward becoming more sustainable, reducing waste and respecting our natural environment,” Mayor Fred Haynes said.
Haynes is proud of Saanich’s staff and council who “pivoted the approach” to ensure the District’s bylaw aligned with the province’s directions. This, he said, was a more efficient tactic and saved resources, time and taxpayer money and put Saanich “ahead of the game” when it comes to plastic checkout bag bans.
Council will conduct a final adoption of the bylaw at an upcoming meeting. The bylaw will come into effect 60 days after it’s official council adoption and will be enforced immediately, without an adjustment period.
We are one step closer to banning plastic bags in #Saanich.
The bylaw will be presented to Council for final adoption at an upcoming meeting and will come into effect sixty days after it is officially adopted by Saanich Council.https://t.co/kTfz8S8Gq1 pic.twitter.com/KciZmrEjUm
— District of Saanich (@saanich) March 12, 2020
“There are so many creative options for people to adopt that don’t require a single-use bag,” Haynes said. “This is one of the ways that, together with Saanich businesses and residents, we are walking the talk.”
When the bylaw goes into effect, paper bags will be available at stores for $0.15 and the municipality will announce public education activities to help alert residents to the changes.