City hops on the plastic bag banning wagon

City of Wetaskiwin hopes new single-use plastic bag bylaw will extend life of landfill

Following in the steps of many other municipalities, Wetaskiwin city council is looking to draft a bylaw that bans single-use plastic bags.

A draft of the bylaw, as well as results from business and resident surveys from earlier this summer, will be presented to city council on Sept. 24 for consideration.

The bylaw seeks to ban single-use plastic bags, some of which are still being used in large retail outlets, and aims to reduce the growing number of plastic bags littering city parks and the landfill.

Deputy City Clerk Jacqueline Pelechytik says the idea of banning single-use plastic bags was originally brought to council about eight years ago but at that time council wasn’t quite ready to “take the leap.”

“They wanted to look at other reduction strategies at that time,” she said.

Following Montreal, Victoria, Fort McMurray and some smaller Manitoba communities, councillor Wayne Neilson believed it was high time that the Wetaskiwin city council brought the initiative forward again, especially with the limited life expectancy of the city’s landfill.

“The timing is appropriate because we are having issue with regard to our landfill and anything we can do to extend the landfill from a taxpayer and residential perspective, we should,” he said.

Neilson says that the community will be looking for another site for a landfill once the six to eight year life expectancy of the current landfill is up.

“We are going to see substantial costs here, in launching a new landfill somewhere and closing the current one,” he explained.

“So if there is anything we can do to expand that expectancy, I see that as a good thing.”

At this point the City of Wetaskiwin doesn’t have approximate numbers of how many single-use plastic bags have been going into the landfill, or how many could be diverted from the landfill when the ban comes in to place, but this is irrelevant Neilson says.

“At some level the numbers are immaterial. Anything we can do, even to divert one bag or a million bags, is a positive.”

The numbers will become more apparent once administration has a chance to go over the business and resident surveys that were mailed out with utility bills in August, Pelechytik said.

“It is not something the city was tracking but we will get a better picture of the numbers by figuring out how many bags businesses give out in a day,” she explained.

The single-use plastic bag bylaw will have phases but at this time businesses are being asked to slowly transition by using up their plastic bag stocks and figuring out allowances, like providing paper bags to customers instead. Pelechytik says that they don’t anticipate many issues. For the most part it is about training employees.

“We don’t want a heavy-handed approach,” she said, noting that repeat violators of the bylaw would be fined through a fining schedule outlined in the bylaw.

Many retailers are getting behind the notion, including Wetaskiwin’s Wal-Mart.

“We will be following the rules that the city puts forth,” said Wal-Mart employee Tracey Worthington.

In the meantime council is suggesting that residents get in the habitat of bringing reusable bags or other items to carry purchases in with them to the store.

“As consumers we don’t forget to bring our wallets or our Visas with us when we go to the store so we are asking people to take something to take your groceries home in, for that to be a practice,” Neilson said.

“Will there be some inconveniences? Yes, but none that are insurmountable.”

-Jessica Jones, Pipestone Flyer freelancer

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

Just Posted

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate indecent act at By The Lake Park

Complaint said man exposed himself in Wetaskiwin

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate attempted armed robbery

Police seek information about alleged attack and identify suspect

Liquor store robbed in Wetaskiwin

Two suspects robbed Gentleman’s, assaulted staff member

2019 City of Wetaskiwin by-election will be held Sept. 11

Proof of identification needed to vote for two vacant council positions

Leduc RCMP arrest Leduc male for trafficking heroin

Warren Frederick Young, 43, also facing four counts of breaching a recognizance

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Scrapie, a disease related to mad cow, found in two flocks of sheep in Alberta

Health Canada says there is no known link between scrapie and human health

Alberta oil and gas producer cleanup cost estimates set too low, says coalition

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. facing the largest bill at $11.9 billion to clean up 73,000 wells

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Natural gas producers demand government action in open letter to Kenney

The letter warns that the viability of the natural gas sector is in jeopardy

Remains of missing Edmonton woman discovered outside of North Battleford: RCMP

The 25-year-old Edmonton woman was reported missing on May 12

Most Read