City council voted on Tuesday to put a plastic bag ban on its agenda for a meeting in the near future.
Mayor Deb Kozak noted that plastic bags are a significant topic of conversation and policy making around the world.
“It’s a topic that past Nelson councils have discussed as well and it is a great idea. It’s time for us to make a difference on what we are doing with plastic. We need to have a discussion and set a timeline. So let’s put that on the agenda for discussion.”
“Banning plastic bags,” said Councillor Bob Adams when the idea was presented to the meeting by Councillor Michael Dailly. “You mean dark blue, black, or whatever it is, I can’t use it any more?”
“No, it’s the kind you use when you go shopping,” Dailly responded.
“That’s a little different than banning plastic bags,” said Adams.
Councillor Robin Cherbo agreed with Adams and suggested that grocery bags should be specified.
“In Victoria,” Councillor Anna Purcell said, “you can still have plastic for covering dry cleaning, and you still have bulk bags for bulk food, that you put your celery in.”
A growing number of cities around the world including Montreal and Victoria have banned single use plastic bags because of the amount of waste they create and the difficulty in recycling them. Victoria’s ban kicks in this summer.
“Victoria spent a couple of years talking to its business community working out a really gentle roll-out schedule so everyone could use up the stock they had,” said Purcell.
In 2016, North Shore resident Claire Hitchman circulated a petition in Nelson, asking people if they would support a plastic bag ban, and got more than 2,000 signatures.
“Of all of businesses I approached, a significant portion of them on Baker, everybody was in favour,” Hitchman told the Star this week. “I went to the Nelson Business Association and discussed it with them and received nothing but positive feedback.”
Hitchman said that after consulting Purcell, she decided to hold off on taking the petition to council until after Victoria voted on its ban, which it has now done. She says the petition is still ready to be presented.
“I really want to make sure I honour anyone who took the time to sign that petition,” she said. “It has not disappeared.”