EDITORIAL – Council tries its best to make plastic bag issue complicated

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 opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7342 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Council tries its best to make plastic bag issue complicated

  1. A holistic approach is a good idea because plastic bags are just part of the picture…for sure!
    Also sustainability should not be just a small department, a sideshow to the frenzy…it should be a whole-encompassing “vibe” directing how we build our city for the future. The future will come and we will be still dithering with “amendments”…
    Death of an antiquated, parochial leadership style can’t come quick enough in my opinion.

  2. John Noakes // April 4, 2019 at 7:01 AM // Reply

    I have a bit of time between now and July. For $20K, I can do a study.
    Honest. Just $20K.
    A report printed in colour will be about double.
    A copy for each on council will be extra. But, they can share.

  3. Ian MacKenzie // April 4, 2019 at 6:53 AM // Reply

    Don’t diddle daddle, lads and lasses, just do it.

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