Possible delay to single-use plastic ban

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

Town council will vote on whether to delay the enforcement of the ban of single-use plastics bylaw for six months, after several restaurants asked for a grace period following supply chain problems.

The Planning and Development Executive Committee, chaired by Coun. John McTaggart, will bring the recommendation to council next Monday. 

However, this was not a unanimous recommendation. 

McTaggart was initially in favour of delaying the bylaw for 12 months, but Coun. Douglas Judson, said he neither supports amending the bylaw nor delaying its enforcement. 

“Everyone wants to follow the bylaw,” McTaggart said. “But the bylaw was conceived and put into place pre-pandemic, and it had real impacts.”

Judson supported showing enforcement leniency. This means that bylaw officers will not impose fines on non-compliant businesses for a time period set by council. 

“I think it’s important we just demonstrate publicly that we are there to support the businesses and their transition,” Judson said. “We’re not sending anyone around to round people up in a paddy wagon over plastic bags. We will be taking a measured approach to this, but I think it sends the wrong message if we’re going to step back from policy.”

Coun. Wendy Brunetta said it would be strange to say the town has a bylaw and at the same time not enforce it.

“Bylaws are enforced typically by complaint basis,” Brunetta said. “The fact is we’ve been informed by certain individuals that they won’t be complying. So where does that put us in terms of enforcing it?”

During the committee meeting, Dale Fortes, Boston Pizza manager, their intention is not to derail the bylaw.

Fortes said this is a popular bylaw that has gotten the attention of many people. However, he added that he would have a hard time explaining to his customers why he is using single-use plastics after a bylaw banning them was in effect.

“I think it’s incumbent of council to say we’re postponing the enforcement of the by-law until the supply chain issues are fixed and businesses can comply,” Fortes said. “We want to abide by the laws. We want to follow the laws and we want to be good corporate and business citizens of the community.” 

Fortes is not alone in this boat. He previously submitted a letter to council on behalf of himself, Sarah Noonan of the La Place Rendez‐Vous, Duane and Grace Cridland of Flint House and Larry Pham of Mekong.