Court loss won’t affect Rossland plastic bag ban: mayor

Mayor says community is compliant, with enforceable law or not

The mayor of Rossland says Thursday’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling on a Victoria bylaw banning single-use plastic bags won’t change anything for her city.

“Rossland’s a pretty progressive town,” says Mayor Kathy Moore. “We understand that single-use plastics are the low-hanging fruit to get rid of, to help the environment and have a cleaner town.”

On Thursday Canada’s highest court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling against the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban.

With the leave for appeal dismissed, the lower court’s decision against the bylaw stands.

The high court doesn’t give reasons for its decision not to hear a case.

The City of Rossland’s own plastic bag bylaw was based partly on Victoria’s. It was passed last summer, but no enforcement was planned until January of this year.

Moore says the ruling Thursday won’t change her city’s approach to the issue.

“I don’t think it will affect us at all, our bylaw was passed in July with enforcement starting in January,” she says. “We basically have had compliance from everybody in town.”

“I don’t think any of that is going to stop.”

She says most businesses have already made the switch to alternatives to plastic bags.

She also says she’s hopeful the province, which has held extensive public consultations on the issue, will step in soon and pass legislation banning single-use bags.

“The writing is on the wall,” says Moore. “I think the province has already shown they are interested in hearing how the citizens of B.C. want to address the issue, and I am confident the feedback they’ve been getting loud and clear is that ‘there are other alternatives, why should we use this stuff that’s harmful’?

“My guess is we’ll be seeing some action from the province in the near future.”

Moore says even with a flawed and now-unenforceable bylaw, Victoria has reduced the amount of plastic waste significantly through its ban.

“It’s a really good thing to do,” she says. “It’s going to happen. It doesn’t matter what happened in court, there’s a great grass roots movement on this.”

Moore says no Rossland businesses have been at the receiving end of enforcement since the bylaw was passed.

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Moore says no businesses in town have been penalized under Rossland’s single-use-bag ban. File photo

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