An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
KAMLOOPS CITY COUNCIL tried its level best to make banning plastic bags as complicated as possible this week but miraculously ended up making it simple — as it should be.
When Coun. Dale Bass’ notice of motion on the issue came up for debate, it was amended, then it was amended, then it was amended again. And again.
It started out as a request for staff to draw up a bylaw banning single-use plastic bags, straws and cutlery. Coun. Sadie Hunter wanted it put off till July, instead of the end of May as Bass proposed.
Arjun Singh suggested September. Dieter Dudy proposed cutlery be removed from the motion. Denis Walsh wanted cutlery left in and Styrofoam added.
Singh worried about legalities. He also thought straws should be left out.
Mike O’Reilly was concerned a ban would be “a tax on retail.”
Some amendments were approved, some defeated. As Mayor Ken Christian put it, the original motion “was amended to death.”
In the end, council approved a motion to investigate by July the banning of plastic bags. Simple, to the point. Except that is, for O’Reilly’s request that staff provide a report on single-use products in general.
A holistic approach is a good idea because plastic bags are just part of the picture. I might suggest that all council has to do to find out about single-use plastics is to look at Recycle B.C.’s list, which is thorough. But if it makes councillors happier to have it as a report from staff, OK.
Anyway, after all that amending, council ended up at the right place, for now. What’s clear is that everyone on council wants to get rid of plastic bags — agreeing on how to get there is going to be a challenge.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.