Plastics discussion returns to DOI council
By Stephanie Stevens
It was a little like déjà vu at the District of Invermere (DOI) Jan. 28.
During the petitions and delegations portion of the regular scheduled meeting, Stephanie Van Der Kemp presented another three-fold request for the DOI to provide funding for a comprehensive plastic strategy, ban single use plastics within the DOI and formulate a long term zero plastic strategy.
Van Der Kemp spoke at the December 10 meeting with the same message and request, as well as pointing out that she feels (a single use plastics ban) is the DOI council’s responsibility as elected leaders.
This time Van Der Kemp said she came speaking for “the next generation, the ones who don’t yet have a voice.”
Drawing again on the 2018 municipal election opinion poll which saw 727 of 1,042 voters in favour of a ban on plastic bags, she reiterated she would like to see the “same leadership and energy as was put into the (Lake Windermere Resort) land purchase put into this.”
While she did bring a few more speaking points to the table the second time around, including a letter written by local youths Masha Stich and Aurora Orchiston in support of the plastic bag ban, as well as a petition signed by 1,078 people, the message back from council was essentially the same as the December response.
“This is on our list of priorities for advocacy,” said Mayor Al Miller. “We cannot answer now if we will take it to a ban or bylaw level. We are not trying to avoid (creating a bylaw) but those things take a lot of staff time, and our staff time is already stretched thin.”
Miller, who owns Home Hardware, said he has been having and will continue to have ongoing discussions with many local businesses regarding the issue.
Home Hardware, AG Valley Foods and Sobeys stopped providing single use plastic bags on Jan. 31, with Canadian Tire committed to eliminate them on March 1.
“I think it will be a natural flow,” Miller said. “Businesses would like the chance to be leaders without being bylawed to death.”
As for charging for paper bags, something Van Der Kemp hoped businesses will do to further encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags, Miller said some of the business owners he has spoken to are reluctant to.
“Some businesses don’t want to charge for bags… I am one of them. I don’t feel good inviting people to shop in my store and then charge them more at the till,” he said.